If you suspect you have hearing loss or a hearing healthcare professional has evaluated your hearing and has determined that you are candidate for two hearing aids, are you wondering if you can “get by” with just one hearing aid? For many years, research in the field of hearing science has found that wearing two hearing aids is definitely better than one (with very few exceptions). After all, if you have vision loss in both eyes, you wouldn’t wear a monocle (one eyeglass lens) would you?
One of the best ways to keep your auditory system in good working order is to use it. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that both ears are being stimulated. It allows for the optimal amount of information to be sent to the brain for better processing – especially for understanding speech. People fit with binaural (two) hearing aids score better on word recognition and speech understanding tests. This is not only true in quiet listening situations, but is even more evident in group and noisy situations. Groups and noise are the most common places that people with hearing loss report the most difficulty hearing in. Also, studies have shown that the word recognition abilities of people fitted with one hearing aid decline more rapidly than people fitted with two hearing aids. Clinically, this is called the auditory deprivation effect.
In his article “The Binaural Advantage” on BetterHearing.org, well-known audiology researcher Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D lists numerous other advantages to wearing binaural hearing aids. Here are a few:
- Better ability to tell the direction of sound (called sound localization)
- Wider hearing range (people can hear at further distance with two ears than one ear)
- Better sound identification (many words sound alike and with two hearing aids, sounds are more distinguishable)
- Listening is more pleasant and it is less tiring to hear (a result of less strain to hear)
- Feeling that hearing is more “balanced” (also known as the stereo effect)
- Better sound quality (by increasing your hearing range from 180 degrees to 360 degrees)
- Higher rate of hearing aid satisfaction with two hearing aids than one hearing aid
So, just as you need two eyes to see your best, you need two ears to hear clearly. If you suspect that you or a loved one has hearing loss or needs hearing aids, please do not hesitate to contact us at HearMD at 856-602-4200 for a complete hearing evaluation and consultation. Let our experienced hearing healthcare professionals and ENT physicians guide you on your journey to better hearing for better living.