Deafness Or Hearing Loss

Deafness refers to the lack of (or loss) of your dog’s ability to hear. If your dog is born with it, it should be very apparent at a young age. Unfortunately, Boston Terriers are prone to deafness so it is something that must be monitored with your dog although this is more typical with senior dogs.

Symptoms include:

  • Unresponsive to everyday sounds
  • Unresponsive to its name
  • Unresponsive to the sounds of squeaky toys
  • Not woken by a loud noise

According to PetMD, causes are:

Conduction (sound waves do not reach the nerves in the ear)

  • Inflammation of the outer ear and other external ear canal disease (e.g., narrowing of the ear canal, presence of tumors, or ruptured ear drum)
  • Inflammation of the middle ear


  • Degenerative nerve changes in elderly dogs
  • Anatomic disorders — poor development (or lack of development) in the part of the ear that contains the nerve receptors used for hearing; the condition leads to fluid buildup in specific areas of the brain and damages the part of the brain involved with hearing
  • Tumors or cancer involving the nerves used for hearing
  • Inflammatory and infectious diseases — inflammation of the inner ear; canine distemper virus may cause alterations in hearing, but not complete deafness; inflammatory masses that develop in the middle ear or eustachian tube
  • Trauma

Toxins and Drugs

  • Antibiotics
  • Antiseptics
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Medications to remove excess fluid from the body
  • Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, or mercury
  • Miscellaneous — products used to break down waxy material in the ear canal

Other risk factors

  • Long-term (chronic) inflammation of the outer, middle, or inner ear
  • Certain genes or white coat color

Your veterinarian will need to look over a complete medical history for your dog as well as investigate if any medications taken were the cause. In rare cases, brain disease is a slow progressive disease of the cerebral cortex, usually caused by senility or cancer — making the brain not able to register what the ear can hear. Bacterial cultures and hearing tests, as well as sensitivity testing of the ear canal, may also used to diagnose the underlying condition.

Unfortunately, any deafness present in the dog at birth (congenital) is irreversible. If it is caused by an inflammation of the outer, middle, or inner ear, medical or surgical approaches may be used.

[Information provided by PetMD]