Any pet parents who have tried to secretly whisper about taking a walk only to have their dog come running in with her tail wagging are well aware that dogs have stupendous hearing. After their fantastic sense of smell, hearing is the second most powerful sense that dogs possess.
Although many dog owners know that their furry friend can hear great, many don’t know how well or why. It turns out that there are several interesting reasons why dogs can hear great.
Dogs have a larger range
Dogs can hear distances four times farther away than humans can. This allows them to not just hear a creature or sound that’s farther away but also more sounds at most times. Their radius is expanded and can encompass more noises than that of a human.
The Daily Puppy explained how dogs can also outhear humans when it comes to various frequencies.
“Sparky’s hearing range is quite different from ours, reaching a much higher frequency than we can hear. Hz, or Hertz, refers to sound frequency, the number of sound wave cycles per second. Humans hear between the frequencies of 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz; 2,000 Hz is the level we hear best. Sparky can’t hear quite as low as we can – his range begins at around 40 Hz – but he can hear up to 60,000 Hz. His best hearing occurs at 8,000 Hz.”
Hearing at such higher frequencies, dogs can react to certain sounds that humans can’t even hear, such as dog whistles. Many dog owners advise against their use, but silent dog whistles are a perfect example of a noise occurring at a frequency that dogs can hear and humans can’t.
Although dogs’ sound range starts at a higher frequency than ours, a Louisiana State University study on canine and animal hearing found that dogs respond to low intensity sounds better than humans as well. Although, cats beat out dogs in this category.
It’s likely an evolutionary advantage
Better hearing may be beneficial to your dog now so that she can hear you the minute you start pouring kibble into her bowl or getting the leash ready, but before domestication, better hearing may have been critical to survival. Improved hearing simply means better hunting.
Dogs would be able to hear the high pitched noises and squeals of rodents, which are suspected to have made up a significant amount of their diet, Pet Advisor explained. While hearing higher frequencies may have made finding prey simpler, hearing such great distances may have made escaping from potentially predators easier. Dogs could hear a larger animal approaching from far away. There’s evidence to suggest that wolves use their hearing this way to this day and humans have continued to breed dogs with great hearing for hunting purposes.
Their ears are built better
Dogs ears are completely different than human ears. Rather than being stationary appendages, like ears are on humans, dogs can move and angle their ears to better receive sound. Dogs have 18 ear muscles compared to the six that humans have. These allow dogs more control over their own hearing.
When a dog hears something, she’s able to perk her ears up, tilt her head and shift the ear itself to better receive the sound waves. Inside the ear, the canal is also longer, funneling sound into the ear drum, The Daily Puppy explained. The inner ear cochlea also is more effective than a human’s, making 3 1/4 turns rather than the 2 1/2 humans make.
Keep your dog’s ears clean
Your dog has an incredible pair of ears on her head, but she needs your help to keep them clean. Proper ear care is critical to your dog’s health and hearing ability. Keep an eye out for swelling or more scratching than usual. These can be signs of an issue.