Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re hunting for the quick answer, then yes, the majority of cases of hearing loss are best managed with two hearing aids.
If you want to understand why, or are curious about the reasons why we have two ears in the first place, then continue reading.
The Benefits of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s begin with eyesight.
When we look at an image, each eye is provided with a slightly different copy of that image. Our brains then analyze the differences between the two versions to generate the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—in conjunction with height and width—helps us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had only one eye, our capability to perceive depth and distance would be severely compromised.
The Advantages of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same phenomenon applies to our ears and our hearing. Even though we may not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can frequently determine both its distance and its location, in addition to its volume.
Each ear obtains a slightly different copy of each sound, and those variations are translated by the brain in a way that reveals location and distance. This permits us to hear in three dimensions, so that we know how far away and which direction sound is coming from.
On top of being able to assess depth, distance, and location, having two ears also heightens the quality of sound and enhances the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To verify the theory of sound quality, the next time you’re playing music in the car, turn off both left speakers and notice how unnatural it sounds.
The Benefits of Two Hearing Aids
If our eye doctor tells us that we have vision impairment in both eyes, we don’t seriously consider the benefits of getting fitted with one lens.
So when our hearing specialist tells us that we have hearing loss in both ears, why do we need to be convinced to use two hearing aids?
As we’ve seen, our ears work together so that our brains can best decipher the distance, location, volume, quality, and range of sound.
With the capability to determine the precise location of sound from the use of two hearing aids, you’ll have the ability to:
- focus on speech during a discussion even with substantial background noise.
- identify distinct voices among many.
- extend the range of sounds heard by up to four times.
- hear sounds without straining, which is less exhausting.
- listen to sounds without the abnormal sensation of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
- Prevent the deterioration of hearing in the non-fitted ear.
That last 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 with time. This will promptly restrict your ability to enjoy all of the benefits just described.
If you think you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing test with a qualified hearing professional. Shortly after your hearing is tested, your hearing specialist will discuss 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 suggest binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be offered the opportunity to trial them before you buy—which is a great opportunity to assess for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.