My main question would be, "How would you persuade your dog or cat to keep them in their ears?" My cat screeched and nearly tore my eyes out when I tried to put a tiny sombrero on his head (I thought it would be cute). I think I would end up in the hospital if I tried to put hearing aids in my cat's ears.
Do dogs and cats really care that they are deaf? I would like to think that they would be perfectly fine as long as they are fed, warm, dry, and loved. I know that there are many pet owners who would do anything for their pets, but come on, hearing aids? Really?
Of course I Googled "Hearing aids for pets." I am surprised that there are several articles about this topic. It seems as if they have developed hearing aids for dogs. Apparently, an audiologist, Dr. A.E. Marshall, researched and experimented with this idea for a long time before actually developing hearing aids for dogs. He found that hearing loss between humans and animals are very similar and that dogs would actually benefit from hearing aids. Of course the major setback was actually getting dogs to wear them.
I have also found out that there are some veterinary clinics that will provide hearing tests and hearing aids for your dog. Some of them offer hearing aids for $250.00 a piece (I wish my hearing aids were that inexpensive!). There are even some articles discussing cochlear implantation for dogs. That's a bit extreme, I think.
I'm sorry, I still think it is ridiculous. I would hate to put any dog through this. Just let them be. They have so many other senses to rely on and it seems as if they would be able to adapt very well with less hearing.
I can't wait to share this with my student. :)
Here are some links to articles about this issue:
Golden Retriever undergoing a hearing test.
Image from: AISTI
Click on this link, hearing tests for pets, for more pictures of pets undergoing hearing tests (cute! and slightly disturbing).