Are two hearing aids better than one?
If you’re searching for the quick answer, then yes, most cases of hearing loss are ideally treated with two hearing aids.
If you want to know why, or are interested about why we have two ears in the first place, then keep on reading.
The Advantages of Stereoscopic Vision
Let’s start with vision.
When we look at an image, each eye is provided with a slightly different version of that image. Our brains then measure the differences between the two versions to construct the perception of depth. This added dimension of depth—in combination with height and width—enables us to experience the world in three dimensions.
If we had just one eye, our ability to perceive depth and distance would be substantially compromised.
The benefits of Binaural Hearing (Hearing with Two Ears)
The same pertains to our ears and our hearing. Although we may not think about it, when we hear a sound, we can usually judge 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 interpreted by the brain in a way that reveals location and distance. This enables us to hear in three dimensions, so that we recognize how far away and which direction sound is originating from.
Along with being able to judge depth, distance, and location, having two ears also improves the quality of sound and enhances the spectrum of sounds you can hear.
To test the principle of sound quality, the next time you’re listening to music in a vehicle, disable 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 honestly consider the merits of getting fitted with one lens.
So when our hearing specialist informs 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 ability to establish the precise location of sound from using two hearing aids, you’ll be able to:
- focus on speech during a conversation even with significant background noise.
- identify specific 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 unnatural feeling of monaural hearing (hearing with one ear).
- Prevent the weakening 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 even worse over time. This will promptly restrict your ability to achieve all of the benefits just explained.
If you believe that you have hearing loss, the first step is to schedule a hearing examination with an experienced hearing professional. Shortly after your hearing is examined, your hearing specialist will share the results with you in a chart known as an audiogram.
The audiogram will demonstrate if you have hearing loss in one or both ears, but most cases of hearing loss are in both ears.
If this is the situation, your hearing specialist will most likely recommend binaural hearing aids for both ears, and you’ll be given the opportunity to try them before you buy—which is a great chance to test for yourself the difference two hearing aids will make.