Dog hearing | BioStar US

Music to My Ears

Courtesy of Kemosabe, a few thoughts on the nature of a dog’s hearing and how we humans can best take care of those canine ears in the house: 

When I’m with my human in the car, music is almost always playing.  Sometimes she plays it on the radio and sometimes it’s a CD.  At home my human mostly listens to music with her headphones on. However, every so often she will play the music through a speaker so that every dog, cricket, and flying insect within miles can hear it.

There are just times she likes to rock out.

My other human, Peter, listens to classical music in his Man Cave with a dash of Dylan and The Talking Heads.

I have my own musical palate: DO NOT PLAY IT LOUD.

A dog’s hearing:

Humans hear from the frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.  A dog’s hearing, on the other hand, stretches across a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz. Dogs can hear more than humans by a factor of 10 in terms of distance and direction.  The sound a human hears from 20 yards away can be heard by canines from a distance of 200 yards.

Part of our acute hearing comes from the placement and size of our ears.  Upright ears like a German Shepherd can hear better than floppy ears of a Beagle.  The ears of a dog are controlled by 18 muscles, while humans are only equipped with 6.  The canine ear canal is also considerably longer than the human counterpart.

Human soundscape on dogs:

Above 85 decibels you start playing with auditory fire.” (Leeds, Through a Dog’s Ear)

There is a powerful effect on dog’s hearing from the human soundscape.  Sounds above 85 decibels can cause irreparable damage to the cilia cells in a dog’s ear.

Decibels of common household and street sounds:

Whisper: 30
Normal conversation: 40
Dishwasher, microwave, furnace: 60
Blow dryer: 70
City traffic: 70
Garbage disposal, vacuum cleaner: 80

Danger zone:

Lawn mower: 90
Screaming child: 90
Power drill: 110
Humans shouting: 110
Chain saw or leaf blower: 115
Ambulance: 130
Gunshot: 130
Fire engine siren: 140
Fire works: 150

Sound levels of music:

Normal piano practice: 60-70
Piano fortissimo: 84-103
Violin: 82-92
Cello: 85-111
Oboe: 95-112
Flute: 92-103
Clarinet: 85-114
Tympani and bass drum: 106
Symphonic music peak: 120-137
Rock music peak: 150

Dog Hearing | BioStar US
Dog Hearing | BioStar US
Dog Hearing | BioStar US


Recommendations for taking care of your dog’s hearing:

  • Do not expose us to loud bands or street fairs.  If you want to listen to loud music at home, do it with your headphones on.
  • Dogs can react to the sound of humans yelling at the TV during sports games. It would be better for our hearing if you would just let us sleep in another part of the house during the game.
  • Having multiple sounds going at once can stress dogs.  For example a screaming child with the television on. Or the radio is on in the kitchen and the TV is on in the family room.
  • If you are going to have a party with loud music, please let us go somewhere else in the house that is quiet.
  • Make sure our ear canals are clean.  Chronic inflammation or infection can make dogs more prone to hearing loss.
  • If you would like to listen to music that is beneficial to your dog, try iCalmPet’s musical CDs.

Super powers:

Hearing is one of our super powers: greater than that of humans and closer to the guy from the planet Krypton. Much like Superman being exposed to Kryptonite, loud noises and continuous exposure to high decibels strongly affect us. Help us to maintain our super power hearing!

Superdog | BioStar US


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