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PDPM > About Service Dogs > Types of Service Dogs > Hearing Dogs

Hearing Assistance Dogs
As their title suggests, hearing assistance dogs, sometimes referred to as, “signal dogs,” assist disabled handlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. These dogs are trained to alert their handlers of sounds in the environment, which greatly increases and improves the quality of these individuals’ safety and independence.

Hearing assistance dogs can be trained to alert their handlers, usually by pawing or nudging, to very specific sounds that are unique to the person’s lifestyle. Upon alerting the handler to a sound, hearing dogs can then indicate from which source the sound is coming. Some sounds that hearing dogs are often trained to alert their handlers to include, but are not limited to:

- A telephone ringing
- The doorbell or knocking at the door
- An alarm clock
- The handler’s name being spoken
- An oven or other type of kitchen timer
- A smoke alarm
- A baby crying
- Dropped keys

Because the majority of a hearing dog’s job involves alerting, rather than demanding physical work, it is quite common for hearing assistance dogs to be smaller breeds. However, there are plenty of hearing assistance dogs that are larger breeds.

Hearing assistance dog Tess is attentive to her handler.

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