Blaze or panda ferrets (those with a white stripe on the top of their heads, like badgers, and white bibs; or those with a white head and bib, without a mask) tend to be prone to deafness, and Waardenburg syndrome seems to be genetically linked with the white markings on the face.
I have also read that Waardenburg syndrome can be found in black-eyed whites, and that albinos can be hard of hearing due to the fact that they have abnormally small hearing mechanisms in their middle and inner ears.
I haven’t had any problems of that nature in either my BEWs or albinos; however most of my ferrets, both past and present, have shown me that they have “selective hearing”. Depending on their mood at the time, I have found that they might choose to ignore any of my calls, entreaties or ravings! That’s all part and parcel of being a ferret owner!
When we first got Kahlua, I was a little worried that her hearing might not be great as she has a thin white streak on the top of her head.
Having read about Waardenburg Syndrome, I watched her very carefully but found that her hearing is excellent, thank goodness. It’s so good that she can hear me mixing the smoothie in the kitchen when she is asleep in the Chest of Drawers Hilton in our bedroom and she hotfoots it to my side. ?
You can read more on Deafness in Ferrets on these sites …
Deaf Ferrets by Rebecca Stout aka Wolfy
Deaf Behavior by Wolfy
Deafness in Ferrets by Erika Matulich, PhD
Waardenburg Syndrome In Ferrets (Pets4Homes)
Are most white ferrets deaf by Melissa Schindler
How to Look After a Deaf Ferret (WikiHow)
And if you do have a deaf ferret, you can talk to other owners of deaf ferrets here …
Deaf Ferrets — Yahoo Groups However, please be aware of this message from Yahoo – Starting December 14, 2019 Yahoo Groups will no longer host user created content on its sites. New content can no longer be uploaded after October 28, 2019.
(Last updated November 2019)
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is not meant to replace seeing a veterinarian if you think your ferret is ill. It’s only meant to supply general information on a particular illness which was obtained either from personal experience with my sick ferrets, or from books and/or the Internet.