Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids?

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

It’s unusual for people to get the exact same degree of hearing loss in both ears at the same time. Because one ear usually has worse hearing loss than the other, it sparks the question: Can I simply use one hearing aid for the ear that’s worse.

In many instances, two hearing aids are will be better than just one. But one hearing aid might be more appropriate in certain less common circumstances.

It’s Not accidental That Ears Are a Pair

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your ears efficiently function as a pair. That means using two hearing aids has certain advantages over wearing one.

  • Being Able to Localize Properly: Your brain is always working, not just to interpret sounds but also to place them in order to figure out where they’re coming from. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain requires input from both ears. When you can only hear well from one ear, it’s much harder to figure out where a sound is coming from (which may be crucial if you happen to live near a busy street, for example).
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: In the same way as your ears work as a pair normally, more modern hearing aid technology is made to work as a pair. The artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art features work well because the two hearing aids communicate with one another and, much like your brain, determine which sounds to amplify and focus on.
  • Tuning in on Conversations: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid you in hearing. One of the things you want to hear is other people and the conversation happening near you. Using two hearing aids permits your brain to better tune out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain can figure out what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you want to focus on.
  • Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. Your hearing can start to go downhill if your ears don’t receive regular sound input. 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 Circumstances Where A Single Hearing Aid Is Sensible?

In most circumstances, using a pair of hearing aids is the better choice. But that raises the question: why would someone use a hearing aid in just one ear?

Well, commonly there are two reasons:

  • Financial concerns: Some people think if they can make do with one they will save money. If you really can’t afford to buy two, getting one is better than not getting one at all. It’s important to recognize, however, it has been proven that your general health costs will increase if you have untreated hearing loss. Even ignoring hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and neglecting any hearing loss in one ear can increase your risks for things like falling. So so that you can learn if wearing one hearing aid is right for you, speak with a hearing care specialist. Discovering ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
  • You still have perfect hearing 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 have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).

Two Aids Are Better Than One

In most circumstances, however, two hearing aids are going to be healthier for your ears and your hearing than only one. There are simply too many advantages to having strong hearing in both ears to ignore. So, yes, in the majority of situations, two hearing aids are better than one (just like two ears are better than one). Schedule an appointment with a hearing care pro to have your hearing examined.

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.