Dogs and Cinemas

Dogs and cinemasCinemas are increasingly seeking to create bold experiences. This includes super large screens, use of 4k projectors, use of 4D experiences (moving chairs and effects) and use of powerful surround sound speaker technology such as Dolby Atmos. Movies released in cinemas are increasingly considered “blockbuster” releases to utilise this technology in a bid to create bigger experiences for customers. 

The speaker systems in cinemas now include many high-power speakers surrounding customers and over many years, the volume of movies has been slowly increasing.   

Cinemas are also continually installing new technologies which increase the volume even further. These include cinemas branded as IMAX, Superscreen, iSense, ScreenX and 4DX. In these cinemas, additional speakers are placed around the cinema including on the ceiling.

With dogs having much more powerful hearing than humans, the volume of cinemas could cause distress or harm to a dog, especially in movies with action and cinemas with new technologies.

4DX movies include use of smoke machines, strobe lighting, moving chairs and smells to create a 4D experience which could further distress a dog. 

In the interest of dog safety and welfare ADUK have decided as a group that access to 4D cinemas is denied to all Assistance Dogs, both Accredited and In Training.

If you do attend a cinema that is not a 4D experience, please ensure that you monitor your dog for signs of distress and leave the showing if necessary. 

Understanding a dog’s hearing

The anatomy of the middle and inner ear is similar in both humans and dogs. Both have an eardrum or ‘tympanic membrane’ and both have ossicles (little bones within the inner ear) that vibrate and send signals along the auditory nerve to the brain.

However, dogs have much better hearing than humans because they have 18 or more muscles that control the ear flap or ‘pinna’. These muscles provide the dog with finely tuned hearing which does a much better job with:

  • Localising a sound
  • Hearing a sound more accurately
  • Hear sounds over 4 times the distance that a human can.

Many breeds often have upright and curved ears which direct and amplify sounds.

Dogs hear a wider range of frequencies than humans.

  • Human hearing ranges from 20-20,000hz
  • Dogs hearing ranges from 40-60,000hz.

The powerful hearing abilities that dogs have also mean they are more sensitive to loud noises than humans are. Loud noises which humans are comfortable hearing can be scary and even painful to dogs.

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