It’s unusual that people get the exact same degree of hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. Because one ear usually has worse hearing loss than the other, it raises the question: Do I truly need two hearing aids, or can I just deal with the ear with more significant hearing loss?
One hearing aid, in many situations, will not be better than two. But there are certain instances, dramatically less common instances, that is, in which a single hearing aid might be the way to go.
There’s a Reason Why You Have A Pair of Ears
Whether you know it or not, your ears efficiently function as a pair. Which means that there are some advantages to using two hearing aids.
- Being Able to Localize Properly: In order to determine 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. It is a lot harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (Which may be useful, for example, if you live next to a busy street).
- Tuning in When People Are Talking: The whole point of using a hearing aid is to help your hearing. Other people conversing is something you will definitely want to hear. Wearing two hearing aids allows your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to decide what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you want to focus on.
- Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: Just as your ears work together normally, modern hearing aid technology is created to function as a pair. The two hearing aids communicate with one another using sophisticated features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, recognize which sounds to focus on and amplify.
- Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without an input, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs connected with hearing receive the input necessary to preserve your hearing. Wearing two hearing aids will also help minimize tinnitus (if you have it) and increase your ability to discern sounds.
Are There Circumstances Where A Single Hearing Aid Is Sensible?
Using two hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that brings up the question: why would somebody use a hearing aid in only one ear?
Well, normally there are two reasons:
- You still Hear Perfectly out of one ear: If only one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you may be best served by using 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 thing as having one perfect ear).
- Financial concerns: Some individuals think if they can get by with only one they will spend less. Buying one hearing aid is better then not getting any at all if you can’t really afford a pair. Still, you should recognize that eventually untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your overall healthcare costs. Even neglecting hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear can elevate your risks for things like falling. So talk to your hearing professional to make sure getting only one hearing aid is a good plan for you. We can also help you figure ways to make hearing aids more affordable.
Two Aids Are Preferable to One
In most situations, however, two hearing aids will be healthier for your ears and your hearing than just one. There are simply too many advantages to having strong hearing in both ears to disregard. In the majority of cases, just like having two ears is better than having one, having two hearing aids is definitely better than having only one. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to get your hearing checked.