5 Reasons to Wear Two Hearing Aids
Audiologists are frequently asked whether it’s necessary to wear two hearing aids rather than one in the ear with the greatest measurable hearing loss. Considering the expense of each hearing aid, it doesn’t hurt to ask, but the answer is almost always yes – and here’s why.
1. Sounds will naturally be louder
Wearing hearing aids in both ears increases the perception of loudness by up to 10 decibels. This is due to a concept known as binaural summation. Basically, amplifying sounds through hearing aids in both ears increases the overall quality of the sounds without having to adjust the gain.
2. Sounds will be clearer
There’s more to sound than just its volume; we also want to hear things – especially speech – crisply and clearly. The clarity of sound is noticeably better when you wear two hearing aids instead of one.
3. Your brain will have an easier time localizing and focusing on speech in background noise
Although our ears receive sound, our brain processes it. The brain is designed to use information from both ears to assess our environment and pinpoint the location of sounds and voices. Wearing only one hearing aid dampens this natural ability and makes it more difficult to hear in noisy environments.
4. Wearing two hearing aids more effectively eliminates tinnitus
Tinnitus is often linked to hearing loss, so hearing aids can reduce or eliminate the perception of this annoying ringing in the ears. Studies have shown that wearing two hearing aids more effectively treats tinnitus is one or both ears. If you experience severe tinnitus, you may also want to ask your audiologist about tinnitus-masking features available in some types of hearing aids.
5. Binaural hearing aids prevent further hearing deterioration due to auditory deprivation
The longer our ears go without receiving auditory input, the more their ability to process sounds is hindered, even after hearing loss is treated. Studies have found this is especially true as we age. It’s vital to not only treat hearing loss right away, but treat it in both ears.
For these reasons, your audiologist will highly recommend fitting you with two hearing aids if you have binaural hearing loss. Even if it may seem more economical to purchase only one hearing aid, the immediate and long-term benefits are more than worth the investment.
While hearing aids can be a large investment, it’s important to heed the advice of your audiologist when it comes to needing one or two hearing aids. Talk to your audiologist more to understand if or why two hearing aids will be beneficial to your hearing loss.