I have hearing loss in both ears; do I really need two hearing aids? Couldn't I just wear one? What good does the second hearing

Purchasing one hearing aid rather than two can be tempting because it saves money, and one hearing aid still offers an improvement over not using a hearing aid at all. However, that second hearing aid is really important and offers several benefits beyond the use of only one hearing aid:

  • Improved localization, or the ability to tell where a sound is coming from. With one hearing aid, most sounds will seem like they’re all coming from one direction: the side that you wear the hearing aid on. If you’re wearing two hearing aids, you are more likely to be able to figure out where sounds are coming from.
  • Better understanding in groups or in background noise. When you wear two hearing aids, your brain receives twice as much information, which it can use to help “filter out” sounds that you don’t want to hear and focus in on the person you want to understand.
  • Prevent auditory deprivation, which occurs when your hearing system isn’t very active. Over time, wearing only one hearing aid when you need to may lead to a loss of word understanding in the unaided ear. While your ability to hear may not be changed, you could have a harder time understanding words. Wearing two hearing aids keeps your entire hearing system active, which helps to prevent auditory deprivation.
  • Improved balance of sound and volume. When your hearing is the same in both ears, you will feel more balanced than if you are hearing well out of only one ear.
  • Hearing aid features. Some hearing aids are designed to work in pairs. They work together as a team to make automatic adjustments to help you hear even better. These features, which include settings to help you understand speech better in background noise, are not useable in a single hearing aid.

In short, understanding is easier and your overall performance is better with two hearing aids than with one, and that leads to higher satisfaction with your hearing aids.

Of course, there are exceptions. Occasionally, only one hearing aid is recommended even when there is hearing loss in both ears.  Ask your hearing healthcare provider what they recommend for you and why.

As always, if you have any questions about this article or your hearing health, please feel free to contact Audiology Consultants at 563-355-7712. Visit our website! www.audiologyconsultants.com