Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re searching for the short answer, then yes, almost all instances of hearing loss are best treated with two hearing aids.
If you want to know why, or are wondering about exactly why we have two ears in the first place, 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 analyze the differences between the two versions to attain the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—along with height and width—enables us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had just one eye, our capacity to perceive depth and distance would be immensely compromised.
The Advantages of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same phenomenon applies to our ears and our hearing. Although we might not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can generally determine both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear receives a slightly different copy of each sound, and those differences are interpreted by the brain in a way that indicates location and distance. This allows us to hear in three dimensions, so that we recognize how far away and which direction sound is originating from.
Along with being able to assess depth, distance, and location, having two ears also enhances the quality of sound and expands the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To test the concept of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in the car, disable both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.
The Advantages of Two Hearing Aids
If our eye doctor tells us that we have vision loss in both eyes, we don’t seriously consider the merits of getting fitted with one lens.
So when our hearing specialist informs 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 work together so that our brains can best decipher the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.
With the power to establish the precise location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll be able to:
- focus on speech during a conversation even with significant background noise.
- pick out specific voices among many.
- increase the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
- hear sounds without straining, which is less exhausting.
- listen to sounds without the abnormal feeling of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
- Avoid the deterioration of hearing in the non-fitted ear.
That final point is important. If you have hearing loss in both ears but use only one hearing aid, your hearing in the non-fitted ear can become even worse over time. This will promptly restrict your ability to enjoy all of the benefits just explained.
If you think you have hearing loss, the initial step is to arrange a hearing assessment with a qualified hearing specialist. Shortly after your hearing is examined, your hearing specialist will share the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.
The audiogram will show you 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 almost certainly highly recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be offered the opportunity to trial them before you buy—which is a great opportunity to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.