With the help of your audiologist, choosing the right hearing aid can completely transform how you hear sounds. However, in most cases, hearing loss isn’t experienced in one ear alone, it’s experienced in both. The ears are designed to work together, so for the most effective treatment possible, your audiologist might recommend two hearing aids. Are there any specific advantages to using two instead of just one?

A more natural listening experience

As mentioned, our ears are designed to work together to create a binaural experience. Our brain processes in surround sound and wearing two hearing aids allows you to create a fuller, richer sound landscape. Listening with only one ear can interfere with your ability to fully perceive the environment around you. This can include making it harder to tell which direction certain sounds are actually coming from.

Easier handling of different sounds

One of the biggest issues for those with hearing loss, even those who are only wearing one hearing aid, is the ability to fully process and understand certain sounds, like speech. If you are only using one ear effectively, then it can make it harder for the brain to figure out what people are saying when speaking to you, causing a delay between what you hear and what you actually understand. Wearing two hearing aids means that your brain can process these finer sounds much more quickly.

Less amplification, safer sound levels

When wearing one hearing aid, you might feel inclined to increase the amplification in order to better hear different noises. However, with two hearing aids, both ears work together to provide something called “binaural summation” which means you can better hear sounds without as much amplification. This can also reduce the urge to turn the volume on speakers, headsets and TVs, which can exacerbate your hearing loss. Furthermore, with two hearing aids, your brain is more effectively able to reduce unnecessary noise when processing from both ears at once. This means that you’re much less prone to experience difficulty with background noise.

The danger of the “dead zone”

There are certain risks of only using one hearing aid if you have hearing loss in both ears. Again, the brain is the key. If you’re using one ear over the other too much, then the lack of stimulation of the nerves between the brain and the unused ear can lead to dead zones, meaning that you might never be able to fully process sound from that ear in the same way ever again. Furthermore, it’s simply much more convenient if you don’t have to turn the side of your head to be able to fully hear or comprehend different noises.

Two hearing aids really can make all the difference if you have hearing loss in both ears. If your audiologist recommends it, it’s worth taking their advice seriously. If you have any concerns or questions about wearing two hearing aids, don’t be afraid to ask the audiologist. They are there to help you feel at ease about the next step in your hearing health journey.