Okay, I'm going to be honest with you. As much as I love my deaf dog Noelle, and my deaf foster dog Ziggy, they really aren't any better than hearing dogs. Sometimes I say deaf dogs are better, but really they are just the same. There. I've admitted it. I've fostered six deaf dogs in the past two years, and they've ranged from "the perfect dog" (not Noelle), to "the biggest challenge ever" (Ziggy). It has more to do with their age, breed, and temperament than their hearing - or lack of it.
Deaf dogs are really no more challenging to train or live with than hearing dogs. Oh sure, they can pretend they don't notice you calling them when you wave your arms and they refuse to look at you. But even if they're really independent and don't naturally check in often, you can use a vibrating collar as a paging system to get their attention. The biggest issue with a deaf dog is making sure you never let them off leash outside of a fenced area because of the danger from traffic which they can't hear coming. Beyond that, they actually are often easier to train because they don't get distracted by noises around them. Plus dogs respond better to sign language or body language than they do to verbal commands, so with a deaf dog you can just take the easy route and train with only hand motions instead of actual words. I actually get lazy sometimes and use just hand signs with my hearing dog Remi instead of words. He quickly learned all of Noelle's sign language commands and responds equally to signs or words now.
Just like pit bulls, deaf dogs often get a bad rap. People will be very interested in one of my deaf fosters, and then I say "he's deaf" and they sometimes get this funny look on their face and start backing away. Like he's suddenly become a different dog than the one they were just petting and admiring. Silly people. I love to show how my deaf dogs respond to hand signs for something as simple as a "sit" command, because people are so amazed that the dog knows how to sit. Although when a hearing dog sits on command, people are sometimes still amazed, so it could just be that people aren't used to dogs knowing how to sit when asked. Noelle has a whole repertoire of tricks, but I am seriously lacking on training Ziggy. He can sit faster than any dog I know, but we have been focusing on commands like "no" and "come" and "stop chewing my shoelaces" and "stop chewing my socks" and "stop chewing my feet" and "stop drinking that beer", and haven't made it much beyond that.
Deaf dogs aren't for everyone, because they are a bit of extra work, since you can't use your voice to get their attention. But they have some secret advantages. First, they don't hear the neighbors' dogs barking when you go for a walk around the block. Second, they sleep soundly and you can travel with them to strange places without them barking at every noise they hear. This is especially nice if you like to take your dog camping! Third, they aren't bothered by fireworks or thunderstorms. So next time you're thinking about adopting a dog, please don't rule out a dog just because he or she is deaf. If he or she has a problem with alcohol though, that's a different story.