Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re looking for the quick answer, then yes, most cases of hearing loss are ideally treated with two hearing aids.
If you want to know why, or are wondering about the reasons why we have two ears to begin with, then continue reading.
The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s start with eyesight.
When we look at an image, each eye receives a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then compute the differences between the two copies to manifest the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—in addition to height and width—enables us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had only one eye, our capacity to perceive depth and distance would be considerably affected.
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 typically judge both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear obtains a slightly different version of each sound, and those variations are interpreted by the brain in a way that reveals location and distance. This allows us to hear in three dimensions, so that we know how far away and which direction sound is originating from.
In combination with being able to evaluate depth, distance, and location, having two ears also enhances the quality of sound and increases the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To check 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 consider 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 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 ability to establish the precise location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll be able to:
- concentrate on speech during a conversation even with substantial background noise.
- pick out distinct 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 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 worse as time passes. This will promptly restrict your capability to enjoy all of the benefits just explained.
If you think you have hearing loss, the first step is to arrange a hearing test with an experienced hearing professional. After your hearing is examined, 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 the majority of cases of hearing loss are in both ears.
If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will probably recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to trial them before you buy—which is a great chance to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.