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What is a Dogs Hearing Range

Updated on January 16, 2012

Hearing range describes the range of frequencies and also the range of levels that can be heard by a human or an animal. The audible range of frequencies in humans is usually said to be between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz (20 kHz). The hearing range of dogs though is much greater. It varies between 40 Hz and 60,000 Hz (60 kHz). The hearing ability of a dog also depends on its breed and age. And as with humans, some breeds like the German Shepherd and the Miniature Poodle tend to become deafer with age.

Acoustic Perception

The acoustic perception of dogs is different from that of humans. It is generally acknowledged that dogs hear less in the ultra-low range and considerably more in the higher frequency range. Hearing is a dog’s second most important sense; smell being the most important one. The high hearing range means that canines are flooded with various sounds throughout the day. But then they have the amazing ability to screen the sounds. This can be seen when a sleeping dog suddenly springs into action at the sound of the doorbell.

Hearing Test - Different Frequencies of Sound

Location of Sounds

Dogs also have the ability to locate the point from where a particular sound is coming. Hunting dogs help their owners to zero in on their prey by their innate ability to locate the prey by sound. Dogs can focus and capture sounds with each ear independently. Police use this intriguing talent to locate a suspect. By observing the movement of the ears - either both the ears could be pointing to one direction or one ear could be flicked to one side and the other to the opposite side – important clues as to the location of a suspect/s can be gathered.

Special Hearing Abilities

The hearing ability of dogs can be better appreciated if we understand the physical structure of their ears. When it comes to ears, humans and canines share many of the same anatomical characteristics. The difference would be in the outermost section. Our ears are very much plastered to our heads but the ears of a dog are designed to move. It is controlled by at least 18 muscles. This allows the ears to tilt and rotate. Whenever a dog hears a sound, it will move its ears towards the sound in order to maximize its reception. The ear shape of a dog also helps in collecting and amplifying the sound. They are usually curved and upright. Each ear of a dog can move independently of the other.

Helping People

Suitable dogs can be trained to assist people with their hearing ability. Instances are those of the hearing dogs and the police dogs. Hearing dogs assist people who are deaf or hearing impaired by alerting them to important sounds. Police dogs help in locating a suspect through the senses of sound and smell. Search and rescue dogs (SAR) use their hearing ability to find missing people. Hunting dogs, although employed in recreational activities, also stand out because of their sensory abilities.


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