Hearing aids are a significant financial investment, so if you’ve suffered hearing loss in both ears, you naturally think, “Do I really need two hearing aids, or can I hear equally as well with one?” The majority of hearing professionals will state that the benefits of using two hearing aids considerably exceed the additional expense, but to be fair let’s start with the reasons why some individuals don’t need two.
To start with, if your hearing is fully normal in one ear, you plainly don’t need a second hearing aid for that ear. Similarly, if you are completely and irrecoverably deaf in one ear, wearing a hearing aid in that ear is not going to help. Some people experience chronic and recurring ear infections, which can in many cases be aggravated by hearing aids, so in this case wearing a single aid may be an advantage. Or, if you have a specific form of hearing loss where the speech is heard garbled, a hearing aid in that ear may make your comprehension worse by amplifying the garbled speech. Except for these cases, the arguments for wearing two hearing aids are pretty persuasive, and are validated by surveys of consumer preferences and customer satisfaction – most hearing aid users vastly prefer the binaural sound provided by two hearing aids. You will hear a more realistic sound panorama while wearing two hearing aids, and you will also be more able to pinpoint the location of the sounds that you hear. Research studies have demonstrated that two hearing aids also improve your ability to understand speech – especially in noisy environments. Critically important in the decision of purchasing one or two hearing aids is the fact that hearing involves the ear and the brain. When you wear two hearing aids, you continue to stimulate and use both ears. Wearing only one can cause the limited hearing in the other ear to deteriorate further from lack of use. Two hearing aids are almost always better for people who have tinnitus, because hearing aids mask the ringing or buzzing sound, and wearing only one aid will allow it to continue in the other ear. Not surprisingly, consumer research studies have shown that wearing two hearing aids is less mentally tiring than wearing one.
Collectively, there are numerous reasons why wearing two hearing aids is the better choice and only a few situation where a single one might be recommended. If you’re still unsure, make an appointment so you can make your own assessment while wearing one hearing aid, or two. Our many years of experience lead us to believe that when you make your decision, you’ll agree with us that two are better than one.