Australian Lions Hearing Dogs
Australian Lions Hearing Dogs (ALHD) is a South Australian based national organisation and service provider of Hearing Assistance Dogs. One in every six Australians have some form of hearing loss, and of those 400,000 have profound hearing loss which can lead to anxiety and other mental health issues. The assistance and companionship of a Hearing Dog helps to reintegrate their recipient back into society and increases their self confidence. Having a Hearing Dog provides safety and security in the home by alerting the recipient to up to ten different household sounds, helping them to live independently.
ALHD are the only organisation in Australia that provides Hearing Assistance Dogs to recipients free of charge, despite it costing upwards of $37,000 to train and deliver a Hearing Assistance Dog. ALHD also liaise with the local Lions Club to provide ongoing support to the recipient as they learn to incorporate the Hearing Assistance Dog into their life.
ALHD are a not for profit organisation who are funded entirely by donations. Donate now!
How does a Hearing Assistance Dog improve quality of life?
Hearing Assistance Dogs provide significant quality of life improvements, in particular:
- Improved interpersonal relationships
- Improved mental and physical health
- Extended social activity and community interaction
- Reduction in discrimination against the person with the hearing loss
- Reduction in anger and frustration
- Greater earning power and opportunities for employment (especially for those with severe hearing loss)
- A lower incidence of depression
- Improved safety and security
Hearing Assistance Dogs work in complement with hearing aid devices throughout the day and particularly when the devices are taken out. Hearing Dogs are a preferred solution for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
What does it take to train a Hearing Assistance Dog?
Training a Hearing Assistance Dog takes approximately six months and is split into two parts; public access and sound training.
An Australian Lions Hearing Dog has the same public access rights as a guide dog for the blind. It is essential therefore that they are comfortable and relaxed in a range of outdoor settings. Consequently, trainee Hearing Assistance Dogs are put through an intensive socialisation program where they are trained to accompany their future deaf or hard of hearing owners into shops, restaurants, workplaces and on public transport.
The second part of their training focuses on alerting their future recipient to sounds. All our dogs are taught to respond and physically alert their owners to 10 common household sounds including mobile phones, people knocking at the door, alarm clocks, babies crying and smoke alarms. This is also customised to each recipient, ensuring that their Hearing Assistance Dog will work to their individual requirements.