I keep electronic muffs on my nightstand along with a high-intensity flashlight and a quick-access to a handgun. We sleep with our dog (14 lb yappy rat terrier) in the bedroom with the bedroom door closed. If the dog starts barking and whining in the night, I have made it a practice to put on the muffs, turn the switch to full gain, grab the light and gun, and go investigate. They've all been false alarms, but each time I get a bit faster and fumble less. Yes, I did practice in the beginning, but nothing beats actually doing this when woken up from sleep.
Some comments: It's much easier to grab the electronic muffs and turn them on than it is to fumble with my hearing aids. I get the best of both worlds - amplified sound and protection from loud noises. I always praise the dog, I don't want him to shirk if he hears something. There is enough ambient light in my house at night so that I rarely need to use the flashlight; I use it just to check shadowed areas, especially if it looks like something is moving there.
Moron Lave (send a Congressman through the car wash)