Are Two Hearing Aids Better Than One?

Dr. Li-Korotky

If you have had your hearing tested recently and the results have revealed that a hearing loss is present, it may take a moment to come to terms with this reality. While hearing loss commonly cannot be reversed, hearing aids offer an option towards a brighter future for your hearing health.

Even if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss in only one ear, it is important to wear two hearing aids. While one ears hearing loss might be more acute, often the other ear is not far behind. In fact, it is very rare to suffer from hearing loss in just one ear. It is more often it is the case that one ear is more effective than the other, especially if you’re hearing loss is age related. Why is it so important to wear two hearing aids? We will explore some of the reasons below.

Two Hearing Aids Helps the Brain Process Sound

Two hearing aids mimics two healthily hearing ears and allows the brain to process sound in a manner referred to as binaural. When your brain receives sound information from both ears of equal strength it can more easily locate where a sound is coming from. Not only that but it can help you prioritize the voice of the person you are having a conversation with in a crowded noisy room. If you are only wearing one hearing aid it is much more difficult to carry on a conversation in a crowded room, making voices sound quieter than the surrounding noise.

Emulate a Natural Listening Experience

With two hearing aids working their best simultaneously you have a greater chance of replicating the natural binaural process you enjoyed when you had two working ears. This will allow your hearing aids to emulate and more natural, fuller, dynamic sound then you can receive with just one hearing aid.

Two Ears to Keep You Safe

Having two ears of equal ability will make it easier to locate the source of the sounds around us. When we are out in the world driving a car or on foot, recognizing the location of the sounds around us is important to keeping us safe. It’s important to know the direction a car horn is coming from and on what side. When you receive sound information on just one side of your head it is easy to miss subtle clues that can be the difference from us avoiding or colliding into a major accident.

Improved speech comprehension

One of the biggest advantages to hearing with two ears is the ease in which we can comprehend subtle sounds that make conversation easier. This is particularly helpful in a noisy environment full of background noise. Two ears provide ample signal for you to hear people speak in a crowded environment. You pick up more frequencies and can better tune in on voices and tune out the background noise when both ears are engaged. It is just easier to prioritize which sounds are to be heard and which ones to send to the back of your brain so you can focus on what is being said.

Less Amplification with Only One Ear

If you only wear one hearing aid you will most likely be tempted to turn it up all the way in order to hear. This can overstress your ear with the hearing aid as well as strain your un-aided ear. The binaural nature of our hearing makes it easier to better hear sounds without as much amplification. This can also reduce the urge to turn the volume on speakers, headsets and TVs, which can ultimately make your hearing loss much worse.

Avoiding the “Dead Zone”

A cochlear dead zone is type of hearing loss resulting in a loss of sound in a narrow range, because the corresponding sensory cells have been destroyed. When you rely on only one ear it can cause an under stimulation for the unused ear causing these “dead zones.” The importance of two hearing aids cannot be reiterated more. You will not save yourself money in the long run by using one hearing aid as the health risks associated can rack up quite a cost. Invest in your hearing today.

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