Sudden Dog Deafness

by Linda
(Southern California)

We noticed that our dog Furbaby (part Dobie, part Old Shepherd) was constantly scratching her ears & dragging her head on the carpet. We took her to the vet.

She was found to have ear mites. She was treated with an antibiotic; a follow-up visit to the vet pronounced her cured. She was able to hear at this time. Over the course of a few months, we began noticing that she no longer responded to our voices, nor did she react whenever there was a sudden or strange noise.

Back to the vet we went. She had a black, waxy substance in both of her ears, which the vet treated. She still cannot hear. Can this be the cause of her hearing loss?

If so, can it be reversed?

Vet Suggestion Sudden Dog Deafness

Hi Linda,

Without an exam it is impossible for me to know exactly what is going on with your dog, but I can make a couple of comments. The black, waxy substance that you describe could be affecting her hearing, but I wouldn’t expect it to make her completely deaf (just like earplugs mute noise but don’t completely eliminate it).

If your dog had an ear infection in addition to or instead of ear mites and it was very severe, thereby affecting the middle and inner ears in addition to the outer ear, it could have caused deafness. If the infection is ongoing and eventually eliminated, her hearing could return, but in some cases permanent deafness does result.

Also, some types of ear cleaners/medications can cause deafness when applied to a dog with a ruptured ear drum. Did your veterinarian ever mention this possibility to you?

Finally, deafness is relatively common in older dogs. I don’t know your pet’s age, but if she is elderly, it is possible that her hearing loss is unrelated to her current problems with ear mites or infections.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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