Many dogs develop hearing loss as they age. You may notice that your dog no longer comes when called or that they don't react to noises like they used to. You can't just buy your dog hearing aids like you could for a human with hearing loss. However, you can and should take your dog to the vet. There are a number of things a veterinarian can do for a dog in this situation.
Check for blocked ear canals.
Sometimes when an older dog starts struggling to hear, owners assume it is because they are aging when actually there is a blockage in the ears. The blockage could be caused by an infection or by a foreign object getting lodged in the ear. If the vet does find a blockage, they can remove it, which will essentially restore your dog's hearing. There is a pretty good chance a blockage is not to blame for hearing loss in an older dog, but it's worth checking for and ruling out.
Sometimes hearing loss in older dogs is caused or made worse by polyps. These are benign, non-cancerous growths that can start to partially block the ear canal. Your vet can tell whether your dog has polyps simply by looking in their ears. If they do see polyps, the vet can generally remove them. This is a simple surgery, and while your dog's ears will be sore for a few days afterward, the removal should restore or improve their hearing.
Guidance in new training and lifestyle.
If the vet finds that your dog's hearing loss is, indeed, caused by age-related and irreversible changes, then they can work with you on strategies to keep your dog healthy and happy in spite of their hearing loss.
The vet may help you explore alternative training options, such as teaching your dog hand signals. They may also show you some ways to calm your dog down in situations where their hearing loss makes them nervous. Finally, they might prescribe a different food that will help keep inflammation down, which can help your dog hear a little more clearly in some cases.
If your dog seems to be losing their hearing, contact your vet. The vet can look them over, figure out whether their hearing loss is a treatable cause, and work with you to move forward in spite of this change in your dog's function.