I have a pretty good stereo system at the house, and I like to listen to my music and movies at a loud volume, but one not particularly dangerous for humans: typically 80-90dB, possibly with peaks around 95-105dB for gunshots/explosions in movies. I'm well versed in OSHA's hearing duration recommendations, and as someone suffering from some high-frequency hearing loss due to loud concerts 20 years ago, I make very sure not to do further damage to myself.

OSHA guidelines for max listening time without causing damage: OSHA volume duration

I have a dog who loves to lay near my feet while I'm listening to music, or watching movies. My wife is concerned that "the music is too loud for the dog!" and constantly asking me to turn it down.

Obviously dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans, but from my understanding of how sound and hearing works, all that means is that they've got a greater High Freq. range and can hear softer sounds than humans can. It doesn't seem to mean that sounds feel/are twice as loud for dogs than humans. Unfortunately trying to find information about this online seems to conclude that this is the general consensus... but of course no one has any proof, just repeating the rote "dogs hearing is more sensitive" line with no explanation of why that would be bad. To me that's argument makes as much sense as saying that dogs/cats have more sensitive eyesight so we ought to dim the lights so we don't hurt their eyes... which obviously isn't the case.

My dog doesn't seem to mind and happily goes to sleep right beside me during a movie at loud volume, while still going crazy when he hears a neighbor talking in their yard across the street (i.e. his hearing is fine). I'm of the opinion that if it was actually causing damage to him, he'd move to a different room.

Have there been any actual studies on this? Is loud music more dangerous for a dog than a human? Could the fatigue contribute to future deafness in my dog? Should I turn the volume down or is everything fine?

My wife is concerned that "the music is too loud for the dog!" and constantly asking me to turn it down.

Might it be the case that the music is too loud for your wife? ;^)

Obviously dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans, but from my understanding of how sound and hearing works, all that means is that they've got a greater High Freq. range and can hear softer sounds than humans can. It doesn't seem to mean that sounds feel/are twice as loud for dogs than humans.

I'm not a vet, but based on my dimly remembered physics courses, I would mostly agree with you. If it's not too loud for you, it's probably OK for your dog... except I suppose your audio system could produce frequencies that are outside your range of hearing that would be too loud for your dog.

My dog doesn't seem to mind and happily goes to sleep right beside me I'm of the opinion that if it was actually causing damage to him, he'd move to a different room.

Even if the sound was too loud for him, he might still prefer to be close to you! However, my guess is he wouldn't be able to sleep so easily.

While I doubt you're doing him any damage, unless you have some equipment that can measure the sound levels throughout the entire hearing range of a dog, I don't think you can be sure. Maybe turn it down a little bit just to be on the safe side.

  • Can't mark this as accepted because I'd like to see some actual proof, but that's my feeling as well. There aren't any frequencies outside human hearing because my speakers -- like almost all speakers out there -- cut off around 21kHz. So there's nothing in the ultra-sonics that could potentially damage hearing even if I had a source that somehow went that high. – Mordred Jun 5 '16 at 3:01

Dogs can appear sleeping or go into a sleep-state even when harmful stimuli are present. They just like to be around their humans even though the conditions might not be optimal. They will endure a lot of pain just to be around their humans. They have an evolutionary predisposition not to show discomfort in harmful situations, because they will appear weak and susceptible to predatory attack. Dogs cannot tell where loud sounds come from and have a difficult time wIth them.

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