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A hearing dog is a specific type of assistance dog specifically selected and trained to assist people who are deaf or hearing impaired by alerting their handler to important sounds, such as doorbells, smoke alarms, ringing telephones, or alarm clocks. They may also work outside the home, alerting to such sounds such as sirens, forklifts and a person calling the handler's name.

Contents

Training

Dogs that may become hearing dogs are tested for proper temperament, sound reactivity, and willingness to work. After passing initial screenings, they are trained in basic obedience and exposed to things they will face in public such as elevators, shopping carts, and different types of people. Only after that period of socializing are they trained in sound alerting.

Hearing dogs may be trained professionally in as little as three months, though many are trained for closer to a year. Generally, training involves getting the dog to recognize a particular sound and then physically alert or lead their handler to the source. They may also be taught to physically alert to and/or lead away from a sound, such as in the case of a fire alarm. While many hearing dogs are professionally trained, there is a growing number[citation needed] of deaf or hearing-impaired individuals who undertake the challenge of training their own hearing dogs.

Accessibility

In the United States, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 allows hearing dogs, along with guide and service dogs, access to anywhere the general public is permitted. Some state laws also provide access protection or additional guidelines, such as fines or criminal penalties for interfering with or denying access to a hearing dog team.

Hearing dogs often wear a bright orange leash and collar to identify them. Some also wear a cape or jacket, which may or may not be orange.

In the United Kingdom, hearing dogs wear distinctive burgundy jackets bearing the logo of the charity (Hearing Dogs for Deaf People) which trains and funds them.

In Australia, hearing dogs are trained through the Lions Club International of Australia. They wear a bright orange leash, collar and harness to identify them, and carry with them an issued ID. They are permitted by law access with their handler anywhere that is open to members of the public.

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Simple English


A hearing dog is a special type of assistance dog, who has been selected and trained to help people who are deaf or have hearing problems. The dogs tell their handler when they hear important sounds, such as doorbells, smoke alarms, telephones, or alarm clocks. They may also work outside the home, responding to sounds like sirens, forklifts and a person calling the handler's name.

Training

Dogs that might become hearing dogs are tested to make sure that they are calm and friendly, will react to sounds that they hear and are willing to work. After passing initial tests, they are trained in basic obedience and then taken to experience things they will face in public such as elevators (or lifts), shopping carts, and different types of people.

Hearing dogs may be trained in just three months, although many are trained for most of a year. Generally, training involves getting the dog to recognize a particular sound, and then to warn their handler or lead them to where it's coming from. They may also be taught to respond to and/or lead away from a sound: For example, in the case of a fire alarm, the dog will usually drop to the floor, instead of leading the owner towards the alarm, which would be dangerous. While many hearing dogs are professionally trained, some deaf or hearing-impaired people decide to train their own hearing dog.

Accessibility

Hearing dogs are allowed, by law, to go to any place that the public would normally be allowed to go.

Hearing dogs often wear a bright orange leash and collar to identify them. Some also wear a cape or jacket, which may or may not be orange.

In the United Kingdom, hearing dogs wear distinctive jackets, which are burgundy (the colour of red wine) and have the logo of the charity which trains and pays for the dogs.

In Australia, hearing dogs are trained through the Lions Club International of Australia. They wear a bright orange leash, collar and harness to identify them, and carry with them an official ID.

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