Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Man able to enjoy lively party because he's using two hearing aids instead of one.

It’s unusual that people get the exact same levels of hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. Because one ear normally has worse hearing loss than the other, it raises the question: Do I truly need a pair of hearing aids, or can I simply deal with the ear with more considerable loss of hearing?

In many cases, two hearing aids are will be better than only one. But a single hearing aid might be an acceptable choice in certain less common situations.

You Have Two Ears For a Reason

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your ears efficiently function as a pair. Which means that there are some benefits to using two hearing aids.

  • Being Able to Localize Properly: Your brain is always doing work, not just to interpret sounds but to place them in order to figure out where they’re coming from. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain needs signals from both ears. It is a lot harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (Which may be useful, for instance, if you live next to a busy street).
  • Improved Ear Health: Just as seldom used muscles can atrophy, so too can an unused sense. If your ears go long periods without an input, your hearing can start to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs connected with hearing receive the input they need to preserve your hearing. If you have tinnitus, using two hearing aids can decrease it and also improve your ability to identify sounds.
  • Tuning in When People Are Talking: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid you in hearing. Other people talking is something you will certainly want to hear. Using two hearing aids lets your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to determine what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you want to focus on.
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: More modern hearing aid technology is designed to work as a pair just like your ears are. The two hearing aids communicate with one another using state-of-the-art features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, identify which sounds to focus on and amplify.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Certain Circumstances?

In most circumstances, wearing two hearing aids is a more effective choice. But that begs the question: If someone is wearing a hearing aid in only one ear, why?

Usually we hear two distinct reasons:

  • Financial concerns: Some people think if they can make do with only one they will save money. If you truly can’t afford to get two, one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should know that over time untreated hearing loss has been proven to raise your overall healthcare expenses. Even disregarding hearing loss for two years has been shown to raise your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and neglecting any hearing loss in one ear will increase your risks for things like falling. So speak with your hearing specialist to make certain getting only a single hearing aid is a smart idea for you. We can also help you brainstorm approaches to make hearing aids more budget friendly.
  • One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s definitely something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).

One Hearing Aid is Not as Beneficial as Two

In most circumstances, however, two hearing aids will be healthier for your ears and your hearing than just one. The benefits of having strong hearing in both of your ears are simply too plentiful to dismiss. So, yes, in the majority of cases, two hearing aids are better than one (just like two ears are better than one). Schedule an appointment with a hearing care pro to have your hearing examined.

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