Hearing Health Blog

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

For most people both ears rarely have the same exact amount of hearing loss. Because one ear commonly has worse hearing loss than the other, it raises the question: Can I simply get one hearing aid for the ear that’s worse.

One hearing aid, in most cases, will not be better than two. But there are some instances, considerably less common instances, that is, in which a single hearing aid might be the right choice.

It’s Not accidental That Ears Are a Pair

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

  • The Ability to Properly Localize: Your brain is always doing work, not only to interpret sounds but to place them in order to determine where they’re coming from. This is much easier when your brain can triangulate, and in order to do that, it requires solid signals from both ears. It is much harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (which may be indispensable if you happen to live near a busy street, for instance).
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: Just as your ears work together normally, newer hearing aid technology is made to work as a pair. The artificial intelligence and sophisticated features function well because the two pieces communicate with one another and, similar to your brain, determine which sounds to focus on and amplify.
  • Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without input signals, your hearing can start to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs linked to hearing receive the input necessary to maintain your hearing. Wearing two hearing aids will also help minimize tinnitus (if you have it) and increase your ability to identify sounds.
  • 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 lets your brain to better tune out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to determine what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you want to focus on.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Certain Situations?

In the majority of cases, using two hearing aids is the more effective choice. But that begs the question: why would someone use a hearing aid in just one ear?

Well, commonly there are two reasons:

  • One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).
  • Monetary concerns: Some individuals feel if they can make do with just one they will save money. If you truly can’t afford to buy two, one is better than not getting one at all. It’s important to recognize, however, it has been proven that your total health costs will increase if you have untreated hearing loss. Your healthcare expenses have been shown to increase by 26 percent after only two years of untreated hearing loss. So speak with your hearing specialist to make sure only getting a single hearing aid is a good idea for you. Discovering ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.

Two Aids Are Preferable to One

Two hearing aids, however, will be better than one for your ears and hearing in most cases. There are simply too many benefits to having good hearing in both ears to dismiss. So, yes, in most circumstances, 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.

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