Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re searching for the short answer, then yes, almost all instances of hearing loss are ideally managed with two hearing aids.
If you want to understand why, or are interested about why we have two ears to begin with, then continue reading.
The Benefits of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s begin with vision.
When we look at an image, each eye acquires a slightly different version of that image. Our brains then evaluate the differences between the two versions to attain the perception of depth. This additional dimension of depth—coupled with height and width—helps us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had just one eye, our capability to perceive depth and distance would be highly affected.
The Advantages of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same phenomenon pertains to our ears and our hearing. Even though we might not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can normally judge both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear receives a slightly different version of each sound, and those variations are interpreted by the brain in a way that signifies location and distance. This enables us to hear in three dimensions, so that we know how far away and which direction sound is originating from.
Along with being able to evaluate depth, distance, and location, having two ears also improves the quality of sound and enhances the range of sounds you can hear.
To test the theory of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in a vehicle, disable both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.
The Benefits of Two Hearing Aids
If our eye doctor tells us that we have vision impairment in both eyes, we don’t seriously think about the merits of getting fitted with one lens.
So when our hearing specialist tells us that we have hearing loss in both ears, why do we need to be convinced to use two hearing aids?
As we’ve seen, our ears collaborate so that our brains can best interpret the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.
With the power to establish the exact location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll be able to:
- concentrate on speech during a discussion even with substantial background noise.
- pick out specific voices among many.
- enlarge the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
- hear sounds without straining, which is less tiring.
- listen to sounds without the abnormal feeling of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
- Prevent the weakening of hearing in the non-fitted ear.
That last point is important. If you have hearing loss in both ears but wear only one hearing aid, your hearing in the non-fitted ear can become even worse over time. This will quickly limit your ability to achieve all of the benefits just explained.
If you believe that you have hearing loss, the initial step is to arrange a hearing exam with an experienced hearing specialist. After your hearing is examined, your hearing specialist will discuss the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.
The audiogram will demonstrate if you have hearing loss in one or both ears, but the majority of cases of hearing loss are in both ears.
If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will probably highly recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to trial them before you buy—which is a great opportunity to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.