Hearing Loss in Cats

Have you noticed your cat doesn’t seem to be paying attention to you? Does she not answer when you call her name? Does she not even budge when you clap loudly in her direction? The problem may be something you haven’t considered: hearing loss. Deafness in cats can occur over time or be congenital (meaning the cat is born deaf). Read more below as an Indianapolis vet discusses feline deafness, what might cause it, and how to treat and manage it.

Possible Causes

There are many possible causes for deafness in cats aside from simply being born with the condition. Inflammation is one possible reason—the outer ear can become inflamed, or the ear canal can narrow or be afflicted with tumors. A ruptured ear drum could also be causing deafness.

Nerve problems might be to blame. Degenerative nerve damage, cancer involving the auditory nerves, or nerve trauma could cause your cat’s hearing loss. Ask your veterinarian for more information on the auditory nerves of your cat.

Certain antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other drugs, as well as arsenic, mercury, and lead, can also cause deafness. Consult with your veterinarian to see how these materials could affect your cat’s hearing.


Unfortunately, congenital deafness cannot be treated. If, however, the hearing loss is caused by an outside factor like those listed above, treatment and recovery is possible. Medication or surgery may work to repair your pet’s hearing loss—your vet will prescribe a treatment as necessary to repair inflammation, nerve damage, or substance poisoning.

Hearing aids have been effective at improving the auditory function of some animals. Ask your Indianapolis vet if this option might be right for your cat.


A cat with clinical deafness needs special care at home. Her activity should be reduced to avoid injury. Staying indoors is probably best—if your cat must go outdoors, keep her in an enclosed area and monitor her closely. She won’t be able to hear an approaching car or an inquisitive dog.

Your veterinarian can offer more tips for proper home management for a cat suffering from hearing loss. By understanding your cat’s condition and responding appropriately, your pet can do her best to live a normal, happy, and healthy life while dealing with deafness.


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