It’s uncommon that people get the exact same levels of hearing loss in both ears at the same time. One ear is commonly a small amount worse than the other, sparking many to ask the question: Do I actually need a set of hearing aids, or can I just treat the ear with more substantial hearing loss?
One hearing aid, in many cases, will not be preferable to two. But a single hearing aid may be more appropriate in some less common scenarios.
There’s a Reason Why You Have A Pair of Ears
Your ears efficiently function as a pair whether you know it or not. Which means that there are certain advantages to using two hearing aids.
- Being Able to Localize Correctly: In order to determine where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain needs input from both ears. When you can only hear well out of one ear, it’s much harder to figure out where a sound is coming from (which may be indispensable if you happen to live near a busy street, for example).
- Tuning in on Conversations: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to help your hearing. Other people conversing is something you will certainly want to hear. Wearing two hearing aids enables your brain to better tune out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to decide what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you want to focus on.
- Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: Just as your ears work together naturally, modern hearing aid technology is designed to work as a pair. The two hearing aids communicate with each other using state-of-the-art features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, identify which sounds to amplify and focus on.
- Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. Your hearing can start to go downhill if your ears don’t get regular sound input. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs associated with hearing receive the input they need to preserve your hearing. Using two hearing aids can also help reduce tinnitus (if you have it) and increase your ability to identify sounds.
Are There Circumstances Where A Single Hearing Aid Is Sensible?
Using two hearing aids is usually a better choice. But that brings up the question: why would anyone wear a hearing aid in just one ear?
Normally we hear two distinct reasons:
- You still have perfect hearing out of one ear: If just one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you could be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).
- Financial concerns: Some people feel that they can save money if they can use only one hearing aid. Purchasing one hearing aid is better then getting none if you can’t really afford a pair. However, you should recognize that eventually untreated hearing loss has been proven to raise your overall healthcare expenses. Even neglecting hearing loss for two years has been shown to raise your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear will increase your chances of things like falling. So speak with your hearing expert to make certain only getting one hearing aid is a good idea for you. We can also help you brainstorm approaches to make hearing aids more affordable.
Two Aids Are Better Than One
In the vast majority of cases, however, two hearing aids are going to be better for your ears and your hearing than only one. There are simply too many benefits to having strong hearing in both ears to disregard. So, yes, in the majority of cases, two hearing aids are better than one (just like two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to get your hearing checked.