Why Two Ears Are Better Than One

Being diagnosed with a hearing loss can come as quite a shock for some. In many cases, the often slow nature of hearing loss means many people are not aware of any problem. Once this diagnosis sinks in, some people are surprised once again when they hear they need two hearing aids, not one. While one hearing aid is obviously better than none, for those with hearing loss in both ears, the benefits of two hearing aids versus one alone are quite striking.

  • Hearing in Background Noise: Trouble hearing in background noise is the most common issue faced by people with hearing loss. In terms of hearing, your brain does much more work than your ears. In a noisy environment, the brain relies on being able to compare sound coming from both ears to help separate the noise from the speech. With one hearing aid, this essential comparison between ears cannot be done, so you struggle more to focus on the conversation.
  • Localizing Sounds: Like hearing in background noise, the ability to tell which direction a sound is coming from, or sound localization, requires comparing sounds from both ears, and piecing that information together to give a full sound “map.” Not only is this important for keeping track of who is speaking in a group, it is also important for safety reasons and awareness of your environment!
  • Preventing Unwanted Damage: Since your brain is wired to have equal input from both ears, when that balance is offset by wearing one hearing aid rather than two, we can start seeing negative effects. Research shows that speech understanding ability in the ear without a hearing aid can worsen over time.
  • Gaining a Natural Boost in Volume: With equal sound stimulation from both ears, your brain is able to give you a slight increase in volume, which means sound quality will be more natural and ease of listening will be increased.
  • Having Less Hassle: Having to direct your better ear to what you want to hear is a pain. Giving yourself awareness of sounds on both sides means you will not have to point your “good” ear in every direction just to follow along.

In some cases, your Audiologist or ENT may recommend a single hearing aid rather than two, however these cases are rare and are often for medical reasons. Make an appointment to have your hearing tested and talk to your Audiologist about what is best suited for you.