Service dogs are employed for a variety of different jobs including drug and explosive detection, mental health treatment, hearing loss, vison impairment, and medical assistance.  Hearing dogs are trained to assist individuals with severely impaired hearing. Hearing dogs serve as their owner’s ears and help to alert them of certain sounds. Since service dogs are helping to serve those with disabilities, they are allowed to go anywhere in public and are also allowed to live in housing that states no pets are allowed.

Hearing dogs are trained to alert owners for specific sounds like smoke alarms, doorbells, a ringing phone, and crying babies. Many times, the way the dog will alert the owner is by nudging or pawing at the owner to alert them of a sound. They are also able to pull the owner in the direction of the sound.

Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels are common hearing dogs. Service dogs are trained by experts that are trained for their specific jobs. Hearing dogs are trained for several months on audio response training (sounds such as alarms, doorbells, smoke detectors, etc). Once a dog is matched with their owner, they will perform training together, so they are able to work with one another.

Many organizations train service dogs. If you are looking for a hearing dog, Assistance Dogs International ( is a resource to help individuals find service dogs. Also, Susquehanna Service Dogs ( breeds, raises, trains, and places assistance dogs and hearing dogs in Pennsylvania.

In order to obtain a service dog, there are costs involved, applications to be completed, and there may be residency requirements.

Ashlee McCloskey, Au.D.

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