Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re searching for the quick answer, then yes, almost all cases of hearing loss are best managed with two hearing aids.
If you want to learn why, or are curious about why we have two ears to begin with, then keep on reading.
The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s start with vision.
When we look at an image, each eye acquires a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then evaluate the differences between the two versions to achieve the perception of depth. This additional dimension of depth—along with height and width—allows us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had just one eye, our ability to perceive depth and distance would be greatly compromised.
The benefits of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same pertains to our ears and our hearing. Even though we may not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can ordinarily determine both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear obtains a slightly different copy of each sound, and those differences 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 coming from.
On top of being able to judge depth, distance, and location, having two ears also enhances the quality of sound and enhances the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To check the principle of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in a vehicle, 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 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 collaborate so that our brains can best decipher the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.
With the ability to determine the precise location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:
- focus on speech during a conversation even with substantial background noise.
- identify specific voices among many.
- enhance 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).
- Avoid the weakening 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 worse as time passes. This will quickly restrict your capability to enjoy all of the benefits just explained.
If you believe that you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing assessment with a qualified hearing professional. After your hearing is tested, your hearing specialist will share the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.
The audiogram will reveal to you if you have hearing loss in one or both ears, but most cases of hearing loss are in both ears.
If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will most likely recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be offered the opportunity to trial them before you buy—which is a great chance to test for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.