For most people both ears rarely have exactly the same amount of hearing loss. One ear is usually a little worse than the other, triggering many to raise the question: Do I truly need two hearing aids, or can I simply treat the ear with more significant hearing loss?
One hearing aid, in many cases, will not be better than two. But there are certain instances, dramatically less common instances, however, that a single hearing aid may be the right choice.
There’s a Reason Why You Have A Pair of Ears
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your ears effectively work as a pair. Which means that there are some benefits to using two hearing aids.
- The Ability to Correctly Localize: Your brain is always working, not only to understand sounds but to place them in order to determine where they’re coming from. This is a lot easier when your brain is able to triangulate, and to do that, it requires solid signals from both ears. When you’re only able to hear well out of one ear, it’s much harder to determine where a sound is coming from (Which might come in handy, for instance, if you live next to a busy street).
- Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: More modern hearing aid technology is made to work as a pair in the same way as your ears are. The artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art features function well because the two hearing aids communicate with each other and, similar to your brain, identify which sounds to amplify and focus on.
- Tuning in on Conversations: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid your hearing. One of the things you want to hear is other people and the conversation happening near you. Using two hearing aids permits your brain to better tune out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to figure out what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you want to focus on.
- Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. Your hearing can begin to go downhill if your ears don’t get regular sound input. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs connected with hearing get the input they need to maintain your hearing. Using two hearing aids will also help minimize tinnitus (if you have it) and improve your ability to identify sounds.
Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Certain Scenarios?
Wearing two hearing aids is usually a better choice. But that begs the question: why would someone use a hearing aid in only one ear?
Often we hear two specific reasons:
- You still Hear Perfectly in one ear: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you could be best served by having a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s definitely something you should have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).
- Monetary concerns: Some individuals feel if they can get by with one they will save money. If you truly can’t afford to buy two, one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should recognize that over time untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your overall healthcare costs. Even ignoring hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and neglecting any hearing loss in one ear will increase your chances of things like falling. So speak with your hearing expert to make sure getting only one hearing aid is a smart idea for you. Discovering ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
One Hearing Aid is Not as Effective as Two
In most cases, however, two hearing aids are going to be healthier for your ears and your hearing than just one. There are just too many advantages to having strong hearing in both ears to disregard. In most cases, just as having two ears is better than having one, having two hearing aids is definitely preferable to having only one. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care pro to get your hearing examined.