Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re searching for the quick answer, then yes, the majority of instances of hearing loss are most effectively managed with two hearing aids.
If you want to learn why, or are curious about the reasons why we have two ears to begin with, then continue reading.
The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s begin with eyesight.
When we observe an image, each eye is provided with a slightly different version of that image. Our brains then evaluate the differences between the two copies to attain the perception of depth. This additional dimension of depth—in conjunction with height and width—allows us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had just one eye, our capacity to perceive depth and distance would be substantially affected.
The benefits of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same phenomenon pertains to our ears and our hearing. Although we may not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can ordinarily judge both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear receives a slightly different copy of each sound, and those variations are interpreted by the brain in a way that indicates location and distance. This permits us to hear in three dimensions, so that we know how far away and which direction sound is originating from.
On top of being able to assess depth, distance, and location, having two ears also improves the quality of sound and expands the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To check 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 impairment in both eyes, we don’t seriously think about the benefits 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 understand the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.
With the capability to identify the precise location of sound from using two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:
- focus on speech during a conversation even with heavy background noise.
- identify specific voices among many.
- enlarge 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).
- Prevent the weakening of hearing in the non-fitted ear.
That final point is significant. 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 with time. This will promptly limit your capability to achieve all of the benefits just described.
If you believe that you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with a qualified hearing professional. After your hearing is examined, your hearing specialist will discuss 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 most likely highly recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great chance to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.