Whilst out for my morning constitutional this morning my normal routine was disrupted to protect my health.
With thick acrid smoke billowing in the air and the screeching of a hot blowtorch or two, workmen were restoring some road markings in the Caldewgate area of Carlisle.
Noise and smell
No doubt they were in full compliance with human regulations for health and safety but dad and I detoured our planned route to protect my hearing and chest.
This got me wondering if any regulations exist to protect us animals from excessive noise and smells.
We have much more acute hearing and smell receptors than our humans, so it makes sense that we should be offered some protection.
When have you ever seen a notice approaching a worksite to warn of excessive noise, even for passing humans?
Thinking more about the subject, we are exposed to a lot more noise and pollution than we may think.
Our noses are right on the level with vehicle exhaust pipes so as we walk on a pavement we must be getting higher levels of harmful emissions than the two leggers, with their noses and mouths around 3-4m away.
Jack hammers on roadworks, inspectione cover rattle, and even HGV air brake releases all make our day to day life possibly more noisy than the humans would accept.
Dogs can hear what?
Many websites describe the differences between us K9’s and the humans. One science blog called Time Human, explains that we can hear a wider range of sound frequencies, 40-60 KHz and around four times further than the two leggers.
The blog goes on to say that the sense of smell is the most highly evolved sense a dog has. Our olfactory cortex is 40 times bigger than it is in humans and up to 100 million times more sensitive.
So it sort of makes sense that we should get protection.
Working dogs, especially those who go on shoots and in helicopters, could be at most risk from repetitive loud noises.
Help however is available with at least one company identifying the need to protect our hearing.
Mutt Muffs have been designed specifically to meet the contour of a dog’s head to provide the best passive sound reduction possible.
Reviews are mixed as to the effectiveness of this type of protection.
Many humans report that it appears we react differently to the frequency rather than the amplitude of exposed sounds. Such examples would be military service dogs reacting more to pistol shots than to large calibre rounds.
Deafness in Dogs
If you do find that your hearing has been impaired, or indeed you have gone totally deaf, then help is at hand. Like in humans, deafness in dogs is quite widespread. However, many of our owners do not know how we can cope and how they can help us adapt.
Humphrey is a deaf Dalmation and he has his own website all about his deafness. It is full of links and advice for your human and for you.
Over the years he has even become a PAT, Pets as Therapy, dog just like my friend Buster was.
Initially unresponsive to commands, Humphrey now reacts to flashes from a battery powered hand torch and hand gestures. Sit, stay and heel are now easy for him and as such he feels more of the family unit.
Avoid loud noises
Like the humans, constant exposure to loud noises could be harmful so try and avoid wherever possible. Sudden exposure may not be easy to avoid, but having your human take along some protection for you maybe worth a thought if you are a working dog.
If you do find yourself hard of hearing or deaf then all is not lost. You can live a healthy life, but you are going to have to learn some new skills.
Let me know via the comments area below what noise exposure precautions you take when going out.