Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
A. Dogs acting as guides for the blind are now a familiar sight in most cities. Less familiar are “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People”, but in Britain more than 600 such animals exist. In 1982 an innovative programme was established to provide deaf adults with dogs to alert them to sounds in the home such as the doorbell, alarm clock, telephone or smoke alarm. Instead of barking, they use a paw to gain attention and then lead the deaf person to the sound source.
B. Small and medium-sized dogs make the best hearing dogs. They don’t have to be pure bred, though guard dogs and fighting breeds are considered unsuitable. The dogs must be between the ages of seven weeks and three years. They are selected for their high intelligence and friendly disposition, keen responses to sound and willingness to please.
C. Dogs come from many sources, including rescue centres. In this way unwanted and abandoned dogs can be trained to lead active and useful lives in return for good appreciative homes. Even those dogs that do not pass the initial assessment or are later considered to be unsuitable are found good homes as family pets.iv
D. Immediately after selection, they spend several months with a Puppy Socialiser. These are people who take the dogs into their homes for anything up to six months without being paid. In this time, the dogs learn to obey simple commands and becomes acquainted with all aspects of everyday life, particularly how to get on with other animals and children.
E. Once the dogs have got through this initial stage, they are labelled by Animal Care Service Assistants and examined by veterinarians. Later on, their training begins. Kindness and reward are used as the main principals to teach them. Sounds training, which lasts sixteen weeks, takes place in purpose-built training houses. These houses are designed to simulate the home of the dog’s future owner (after all, not all telephones or doorbells sound the same.)
F. The deaf person also needs time to adapt to the dog with the help of the trainers. For this reason, one week before the sounds training is completed, the owners are invited to stay in a flat at the training centre. This is then followed by three months living with the dog in their own home before the final assessment which, if passed, qualifies the dog as a hearing dog for a deaf person.
G. The practical value of a hearing dog is immediately obvious, but the therapeutic value should not be underestimated. Many people who have hearing dogs find their confidence and independence increase and as a result they go out more and participate in activities which they have previously avoided. The hearing dog, with its yellow coat, instantly tells people that the person they are talking to has a hearing loss. They should then know to face the person and speak clearly, and not too fast, allowing the deaf person to read their lips.
H. Although the programme is expensive to run, it has clearly made an enormous difference. One owner, Canaan Baodur, has the following to say about his dog: “Bandit has given me confidence, saved my life, made new friends for us, made others more aware of deafness and broken down some of the barriers that deafness causes. He is my friend and confidant and I talk to him all the time, but above all, he is my ears. I owe Bandit far, far more than he owes me.”
The reading passage has eight paragraphs, A–H.
Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A–H from the list of headings below.
List of Headings
i. It’s not just the animal that needs to learn
ii. Will any dog do?
iii. Becoming someone’s ears
iv. A fair exchange
vi. Many benefits
vii. An expression of gratitude
viii. Learning to live with others
ix. Expanding roles of dogs for assisting deaf individuals
x. why dog, but not other animals?
1. Paragraph A
2. Paragraph B
3. Paragraph C
4. Paragraph D
5. Paragraph E
6. Paragraph F
7. Paragraph G
8. Paragraph H
Questions 9– 12
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
9. The programme aims to supply deaf adults with trained dogs that could notify them of
within their households.
10. A volunteer who helps dogs learn to coexist with others is a
11. A dog becomes a hearing dog after successfully staying for
at a deaf person’s house.
12. The practical advantage of having a hearing dog is clear, but it’s crucial to recognize the undervalued
it can provide.