For most people both ears rarely have the same exact degree of hearing loss. One ear is usually a little bit worse than the other, sparking many to ask the question: Can I simply use one hearing aid in the ear that’s worse.
One hearing aid, in many cases, will not be preferable to two. But there are some instances, significantly less common instances, however, that one hearing aid might be the way to go.
It’s Not accidental That Ears Come in a Pair
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your ears efficiently function as a pair. Which means that there are certain advantages to using two hearing aids.
- Being Able to Localize Correctly: Your brain is always doing work, not only to interpret sounds but also to place them so that you can figure out where they’re coming from. In order to properly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain requires input from both ears. When you can only hear well out of one ear, it’s much harder to figure out where a sound is coming from (Which could be useful, for example, if you live next to a busy street).
- Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: Modern hearing aid technology is created to work as a pair in the same way as your ears are. The two hearing aids communicate with one another using sophisticated features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, recognize which sounds to amplify and focus on.
- Tuning in on Conversations: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to assist your hearing. Other people talking is something you will certainly need to hear. Wearing two hearing aids enables your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain can figure out what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you want to focus on.
- Improved Ear Health: In the same way as unused muscles can atrophy, so too can an unused sense. If your ears go long periods without input signals, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs associated with hearing receive the input necessary to maintain your hearing. If you already have tinnitus, wearing two hearing aids can decrease it and also improve your ability to identify sounds.
Are There Instances Where A Single Hearing Aid Makes Sense?
Wearing a pair of hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that begs the question: If someone is wearing a hearing aid in only one ear, why?
Often we hear two different reasons:
- Financial concerns: Some people feel if they can get by with just one they will spend less. If you really can’t afford to buy two, getting one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should recognize that over time untreated hearing loss has been confirmed to increase your overall healthcare expenses. Your healthcare costs have been shown to rise by 26 percent after just two years of neglected hearing loss. So talk to your hearing specialist to make sure getting only a single hearing aid is a good plan for you. We can also help you brainstorm approaches to make hearing aids more budget friendly.
- One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If just one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you could be best served by having a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).
Two Aids Are Preferable to One
In most cases, however, two hearing aids are going to be better for your ears and your hearing than just one. The benefits of having strong hearing in both of your ears are simply too many to ignore. So, yes, in most situations, two hearing aids are a better choice than one (just as two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care pro to get your hearing tested.