It's known that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell. But how about hearing? Have you ever encountered such situations that your dogs come to the front door and start barking the minute before the doorbell rings? Or when you gently open your cats’ food container, they do know that and come over to you even if they are two rooms away? Cats and dogs can hear what humans can’t. Theoretically, humans can listen to sound with frequency ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and as they grow older, the upper limit will decrease. Dogs can hear sounds with frequencies ranging from about 15 Hz- 45,000 Hz, and cats’ is about 60 Hz- 65,000 Hz.
You can always observe that dogs and cats often prick their ears up and seem like they are trying to hear something even when you think the whole environment is all quiet. Do they have sixth senses? So they know that the next second, someone will knock on the door? That’s because they have far better hearings than humans. But why? Below are some answers to this question.
1. Ear Muscles
A dog has up to 19 ear muscles, and a cat is equipped with 30 ear muscles, while humans have only six ear muscles. Therefore, dogs and cats easily tilt and rotate their ears to more effectively and concentrate the sound into the inner ear. The more ear muscles help quickly move the ear towards the directions where sounds come from and help differentiate different sounds. Also, that’s why cats and dogs can quickly shift their ears while few people can do that.
2. Ear Shapes
The shapes of a dog’s ear are of three types: prick ears / upright ears, cocked ears / semi-pricked ears, drop ears / pendant ears. Generally, the shape of upright ears can help them hear more efficiently, receive and detect distant sounds, making dogs’ hearing more intense. Besides, you can find upright ears mostly in Nordic breeds such as the Siberian husky, the Samoyed, and other breeds like the West Highland White Terrier. Usually, the shape of the cat’s outer ear is upright, except for specific breeds such as the Scottish fold cat, whose ears are folded over.
3. Longer Ear Canal
Dogs and cats have a long narrow ear canal, while humans have a very short ear canal, and their ear canal makes almost a 90-degree bend as it travels to the deeper parts of the ear. Also, their ear canal is more profound to the eardrum to create a better funnel to carry sound to the eardrum.
Most pet owners know that some sounds can cause dizziness to their dogs and cats, like fireworks, gunfire, and thunder. When hearing some loud noise, dogs will show fear actions such as scratching the wooden door, panting, drooling, hiding, etc. Like people, dogs may also suffer permanent damage and hearing loss due to exposure to thunderous noises for a long time, so please pay attention to the sounds and always lower the volume. Also, note that the dog’s ear is more fragile than the cat’s. Therefore, taking them to the vet is the best option when your cat or dog has ear issues.