Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re looking for the short answer, then yes, almost all instances of hearing loss are ideally managed with two hearing aids.
If you want to learn why, or are curious about why we have two ears in the first place, then keep on reading.
The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s begin with eyesight.
When we view an image, each eye is provided with a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then measure the differences between the two versions to achieve the perception of depth. This additional dimension of depth—combined with height and width—helps us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had only one eye, our capacity to perceive depth and distance would be greatly compromised.
The Advantages of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same pertains to our ears and our hearing. Even though we might not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can typically judge 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 translated 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 coming from.
Together 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 verify the concept of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in a vehicle, turn off 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 think about 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 persuaded to get fitted with 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 capability to identify the exact location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll be able to:
- focus on speech during a conversation even with heavy background noise.
- identify 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 unnatural sensation of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
- Prevent the deterioration of hearing in the non-fitted ear.
That last point is significant. 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 believe that you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with an experienced hearing specialist. After your hearing is tested, your hearing specialist will share 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 most cases of hearing loss are in both ears.
If this is the case, your hearing specialist will most likely suggest binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great opportunity to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.