You’re considering applying for a service animal to assist yourself, or someone you love with hearing loss. A service animal can be your new companion if you have hearing disabilities, but there are some things you need to contemplate before your application. A common choice for service animals is dogs because they’re trainable and they have great hearing. Continue reading to learn everything you should know before getting your furry-companion.
Types of Support Animals
Support animals vary in their titles. You’ve probably heard of an emotional support animal. This title is different than a service animal. Your mental health professional can approve your need for an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals (ESA) are great for giving their companion support, comfort, and help with easing their anxieties. They don’t require special training, but service animals do.
Another big difference between emotional support and service animals is what accommodations you get. Legally, you get more accommodations for a service animal. Federal law requires that service animals, like hearing dogs, be allowed in any public place, whereas emotional support animals are not legally allowed in all public places. Another distinguishing factor is that service animals are for people with disabilities. Specifically, hearing dogs are for the deaf or hard of hearing.
Dogs Are One of the Best Fits
Dogs are one of the most preferred service animals especially for those with hearing loss. Dogs have immaculate hearing and they can easily detect noises that their owners do not. These include things like timers, alarms, knocking at the door, incoming traffic, and many other sounds that the owner needs to be aware of. On top of all of these traits, dogs are usually ready to work, loyal, and friendly making them the perfect choice.
To certify for a service dog, you need certification from your doctor or medical professional adding credibility to your disability. Once you qualify, you can find a dog and start their required training or find an organization with already trained pups. Hearing dogs specifically need audio-response training.
If you struggle with hearing problems other than deafness or hearing loss, like tinnitus, an emotional support animal may be more time and budget-friendly option than a hearing dog. Tinnitus is a constant perception of sound, even when there is no audible sound. If you struggle with tinnitus, you’re not alone, as around 50 million people in the United States experience it. It can take form as ringing, buzzing, and other various sounds in the ears. If you experience any of these conditions and you’re ready to get answers, call an audiologist.
Audiologists at the Sound Relief Hearing Center will evaluate your needs and help you single out what may be making your tinnitus worse. Trust their expertise to pick out the right tinnitus treatment for you. Stress and anxiety are common triggers for tinnitus. Studies show that spending time with animals can alleviate stress. So, the key takeaway is that an emotional support animal may be a smart addition and way of relaxation to add into your life to assist in coping with these emotions.
How Training Works
The dog’s first training for becoming a service animal starts with the basics. This includes leash-training which can be difficult with a traditional leash, as many dogs tend to pull. When a dog pulls, it puts pressure and strain on you and the dog’s neck. For better control as their owner, you should consider purchasing a harness for dogs that pull from Joyride Harness. Their company donates money to rescue dogs, and their harnesses come with free returns if you’re not satisfied with your dog’s harness.
Joyride Harness also offers different colors and sizes for practically any breed, making them the best dog harnesses on the market. It’s vital that your dog learns quickly and does not pull when you’re trying to focus on receiving assistance, and owning a quality harness like this can prevent that struggle.
In addition to this more basic dog training, your hearing dog must complete audio-response training. This training for service dogs can cost up to $20,000. During this training, dogs are exposed to sounds they must remember. They will remember these sounds to alert their owner. A dog trainer will help them learn these behaviors so that when you apply through service animal finder organizations, the animal is prepared so you can find you a pup that is perfect for you.
Now that you may have narrowed down which type of service animal is right for you, you should meet with medical professionals. After reaching out for help from audiologists, doctors, or mental health specialists, you can request certification for your soon to be service animal. This furry-friend is your new companion who will help the hearing impaired navigate everyday life, but also foster a one-of-a-kind connection along the way.