Spring 2018 True Natural Health Magazine
By Dr Karen Shaw Becker, integrative wellness veterinarian of Chicago USA, 31st May 2018
You probably already know that dogs and cats have super-sensitive hearing, and as you fill your home with all kinds of technology, sounds which we can’t hear can be for them magnified to alarming degrees.
Ultrasound is essentially a human concept, but for dogs and cats, the higher frequencies are just part of what they normally hear, only greatly intensified
Sounds that annoy people, like a banging garbage truck, can be excruciating to your pets, but devices like smoke detectors may be emitting a high-pitched noise that you can’t hear but they can.
Healthy humans can hear very low-frequency sounds, measured in vibrations per second, ranging from 20 Hertz (Hz) to a high frequency of 20,000 Hz – but dogs can hear up to 45,000 Hz and cats up to 64,000 Hz.
Noise has the ability to disturb the endocrine rhythm of animals, just as it can for humans, but it makes them more vulnerable to seizures.
A study found that more than a dozen high-pitched sounds commonly heard in households were associated, to lesser or greater degrees, with epileptic problems in cats over at least a year. Avoiding the noises eliminated seizures in three-quarters of the cats. Some of the sounds that you wouldn’t expect to have effects included:
- Crinkling of tin foil, paper or plastic bags;
- A dog scratching its neck and jangling its collar;
- A metal spoon dropping into a ceramic feeding bowl;
- Tapping of glass, coins or keys;
- Computer keyboard tapping or mouse clicking;
- The short, sharp scream of a young child;
- A mobile phone ring or digital alarm;
- Rushing water;
Similarly, flickering lights disturb the endocrine rhythm of animals when they exceed the critical flicker fusion (CFF) threshold.
The CFF threshold is the frequency a light needs to emit to be considered a steady light source. For we humans, it can be as low as 24 Hz (or flickers) per second, which gives us a ‘fluid’ transition when watching a screen. Dogs see it differently, however, having a more sensitive CFF of 80 Hz, which is why most dogs usually busy themselves with something else rather than plopping down in front of the TV.
Things we can do to reduce the electronic pollution in the home include:
- Switch off devices at the plug or unplug them;
- Dedicate one room as a ‘quiet room’, with no electronics, wireless routers or LED lights;
- Place home media equipment in a closet or garage to isolate ultrasound and whining and buzzing noises;
- Shop for LED lights with low flicker ratings.