It’s unusual for people to get the same levels of hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. Because one ear usually has worse loss of hearing than the other, it sparks the question: Do I truly need two hearing aids, or can I just manage the ear with more considerable loss of hearing?
In most cases, two hearing aids are going to be preferable to just one. But a single hearing aid might be more appropriate in certain less common scenarios.
There’s a Reason Why You Have Two Ears
Whether you know it or not, your ears effectively work as a pair. Which means that there are certain advantages to using two hearing aids.
- The Ability to Properly Localize: In order to figure out where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain needs input from both ears. When you can only hear well out of one ear, it’s much harder to determine where a sound is coming from (Which might be useful, for example, if you live near a busy street).
- Tuning in on Conversations: If you’re using a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid your hearing. One of the things you want to hear is peoples conversations happening near you. Because your brain has more sound stimulation when wearing hearing aids, it is better able to filter out background noise allowing it to decide what sounds to concentrate on because they are closer.
- Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without input signals, your hearing can start to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs linked to hearing receive the input necessary to preserve your hearing. Using two hearing aids can also help reduce tinnitus (if you have it) and improve your ability to identify sounds.
- Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: More modern hearing aid technology is created to work as a pair just like your ears are. The two hearing aids communicate with one another using sophisticated features and artificial intelligence to, similar to your brain, determine which sounds to focus on and amplify.
Are There Circumstances Where One Hearing Aid Makes Sense?
Wearing a pair of hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that begs the question: why would somebody use a hearing aid in just one ear?
Often we hear two specific reasons:
- One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you might be best served by having a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).
- Monetary concerns: Some people think if they can get by with one they will spend less. Getting one hearing aid is better then not getting any at all if you can’t really afford a pair. Still, you should know that eventually untreated hearing loss has been verified to raise your overall healthcare expenses. Even ignoring hearing loss for two years has been shown to raise your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear can increase your risks for things like falling. So speak with your hearing specialist to make sure getting only a single hearing aid is a good idea for you. Finding ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
One Hearing Aid is Not as Effective 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 benefits to having good hearing in both ears to disregard. So, yes, in most cases, two hearing aids are better than one (just as two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care pro to have your hearing checked.