Dogs can hear at a broader range of sound frequencies than humans. While we hear sounds in the 64 hertz to 23,000 hertz range, dogs can hear sounds often inaudible to people, approximately in the range of 67 hertz to 45,000 hertz, according to Louisiana State University. Although there is no scientific data determining the exact audio frequencies that are painful to canines, veterinarians and dog behaviourists agree that high frequencies above to human hearing limits often cause pain to dogs.
Although signs of pain are not specific in all dogs, the animals often react by barking, whining or adopting uncommon body postures, according to Wayne Wingfield, M.S., writing in "Veterinary Emergency Medicine Secrets." Audio frequency higher than 36,000 hertz can become unpleasant for dogs, also causing pain, says dog behaviourist Steven Lindsay, M.A., in the "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training."
Size does not matter in the world of canine sound perception. Although various breeds can hear sound frequencies differently, there is no scientific evidence that this ability is related to the breed size. According to Lindsay, both chihuahuas and St. Bernards can hear sound frequencies up to 47,000 hertz. Dachshunds hear up to 41,000 hertz, poodles 46,000 hertz and pointers 45,000 hertz.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Like humans, dogs can also lose the ability to hear sounds as they get older. This hearing loss is related to sound volume as well as frequency. According to the University of Utrecht, age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is the most common cause of deafness in dogs. The condition can affect dogs older than 8 years, and it is diagnosed through a sophisticated test called Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER), reports the U.K. Animal Health Trust.
- Louisiana State University: How Well Do Dogs and Other Animals Hear?
- Argonne National Laboratory: Ask A Scientist
- "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training"; Steven Lindsay M.A.; 2000
- "Veterinary Emergency Medicine Secrets"; Wayne Wingfield M.S.; 2001
- U.K. Animal Health Trust: Deafness