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

For most people both ears don’t normally have exactly the same degree of hearing loss. One ear is commonly a small amount worse than the other, triggering many to raise the question: Do I really need a set of hearing aids, or can I just deal with the ear with more substantial loss of hearing?

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

It’s Not an Accident That Ears Come in a Pair

Your ears effectively work as a pair whether you know it or not. Which means that there are some advantages to wearing two hearing aids.

  • The Ability to Correctly Localize: Your brain is always doing work, not only to understand sounds but also to place them so that you can determine where they’re coming from. This is a lot easier when your brain is able to triangulate, and to do that, it requires solid inputs from both ears. It is much more difficult to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (which might be indispensable if you happen to live near a busy street, for instance).
  • Tuning in on Conversations: The whole point of using a hearing aid is to help your hearing. Other people conversing is something you will definitely need to hear. Using two hearing aids allows your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to decide what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you would want to focus on.
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: Just as your ears work as a pair normally, newer hearing aid technology is designed to function as a pair. The two hearing aids communicate with each other using sophisticated features and artificial intelligence to, much like your brain, determine which sounds to amplify and focus on.
  • Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. If your ears go long periods without input signals, your hearing can start to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs associated with hearing get the input necessary to preserve your hearing. Using two hearing aids can also help minimize tinnitus (if you have it) and increase your ability to identify sounds.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Some Situations?

Wearing two hearing aids is usually a better choice. But the question is raised: why would anybody use a hearing aid in just one ear?

Often we hear two specific reasons:

  • Financial concerns: Some individuals feel if they can manage with one they will spend less. If you truly can’t afford to buy two, getting 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 costs. Your healthcare expenses have been demonstrated to increase by 26 percent after just two years of untreated hearing loss. So in order to discover if wearing one hearing aid is the right choice for you, talk to a hearing care specialist. Finding ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
  • You still Hear Perfectly in one ear: 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 definitely something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).

One Hearing Aid is Not as Effective as Two

In the vast majority of circumstances, however, two hearing aids are going to be healthier for your ears and your hearing than only one. The benefits of having strong hearing in both of your ears are simply too plentiful to dismiss. In most situations, just like having two ears is better than having one, having two hearing aids is definitely better than having only one. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care pro to get your hearing tested.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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