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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2006 Spring;11(2):252-61. Epub 2006 Feb 1.

Hearing dogs: a longitudinal study of social and psychological effects on deaf and hard-of-hearing recipients.

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Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, The Grange, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9NS, United Kingdom.


The organization Hearing Dogs for Deaf People provides assistance dogs that alert their deaf or hard-of-hearing recipients to key sounds, thus increasing their independence and also providing companionship. Fifty-one recipients took part in a longitudinal study to monitor the dogs' working performance over time and to examine the social and psychological effects of having a Hearing Dog. The Profile of Mood State (POMS) questionnaire and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) were used together with a Hearing Dog Questionnaire (HDQ) specifically developed for this study. There were a number of significant differences in measures of well-being between the period prior to placing the Hearing Dog and the period after placement, but there were no comparable differences during the year-long waiting period prior to placement of the dog. Recipients reported significant reductions in hearing-related problems such as response to environmental sounds; significant reductions in measures of tension, anxiety, and depression; and significant improvements in social involvement and independence. The longitudinal nature of this study supports evidence that these improvements persist for some time after the placement of a dog, with significant differences being reported, in many cases, up to 18 months after acquiring a dog.

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