For most people both ears rarely have the same exact amount of hearing loss. One ear is commonly a small amount worse than the other, sparking many to ask the question: Do I actually need a pair of hearing aids, or can I simply manage the ear with more considerable hearing loss?
In many cases, two hearing aids are will be better than only one. But one hearing aid might be more appropriate in certain less common circumstances.
It’s Not accidental That Ears Are a Pair
Your ears effectively function as a pair whether you know it or not. Which means that there are certain benefits to using two hearing aids.
- Being Able to Localize Correctly: Your brain is always working, not only to interpret sounds but to place them in order to figure out where they’re coming from. This is much easier when your brain is able to triangulate, and to do that, it needs solid signals from both ears. It is a lot harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (Which may come in handy, for example, if you live near a busy street).
- Tuning in When People Are Talking: If you’re using a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid your hearing. One of the things you want to hear is other people and the conversation going on near you. Using two hearing aids enables your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain can decide what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you would want to focus on.
- Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. Your hearing can begin to go downhill if your ears don’t get regular sound input. Get the organs of your ears the input they need to maintain your hearing by using two hearing aids. If you already have tinnitus, using two hearing aids can reduce it and also increase your ability to identify sounds.
- Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: In the same way as your ears work as a pair normally, newer hearing aid technology is created to work as a pair. The two hearing aids communicate with each other using advanced features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, determine which sounds to focus on and amplify.
Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Some Situations?
Wearing two hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that raises the question: why would anyone use a hearing aid in just one ear?
Often we hear two different reasons:
- Monetary concerns: Some individuals think if they can get by with just one they will save money. Getting one hearing aid is better then not getting any at all if you can’t really afford a pair. However, you should recognize that with time untreated hearing loss has been proven to increase your overall healthcare costs. Even ignoring hearing loss for two years has been shown to raise your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and neglecting any hearing loss in one ear will elevate your risks for things like falling. So in order to find out if wearing one hearing aid is the right choice for you, talk to a hearing care specialist. Finding ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is another service we offer.
- One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).
One Hearing Aid is Not as Beneficial as Two
Two hearing aids, however, will be better than one for your ears and hearing in the vast majority of circumstances. There are simply too many advantages to having strong hearing in both ears to disregard. So, yes, in most situations, two hearing aids are better than one (just like two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to have your hearing examined.