Or Can I Get Away With Just One?
One of the more common questions we hear at The Hearing Professionals is, “Do I really need two hearing aids or can I get away with just one?” It’s a good question and the simple answer is it primarily depends on your hearing loss.
Your brain understands sound best when both ears are working properly. They work together to separate speech so you can focus on the desired sound and to help you know where you are in a room in relation to the sounds around you. That is how we are able to hear and understand in noise.
When your ears are not performing normally, it can become difficult to locate sound and understand in noise. When you only wear one hearing aid and need two, most of the sound is heard through only one ear and it makes it hard for your brain to isolate sounds.
According to the Better Hearing Institute (a leading hearing advocacy group) wearing two hearing aids can lead to improved hearing and understanding in noisy situations, at a distance (like in church or a lecture hall), louder sounds can be made more comfortable, and less powerful hearing aids are needed to compensate for your hearing loss. When your hearing aids need less power, they’re also less likely to feedback (whistle).
Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” If you never exercise, your muscles will weaken. A similar thing can happen in the hearing part of your brain. If you do not actively stimulate the hearing part of your brain at normal levels, you may develop a condition called Auditory Deprivation. This occurs when the brain is not stimulated by sound and slowly loses its ability to understand sound.
You are born with two ears for a reason and your brain needs input from both ears in order to hear well. So it just makes sense – if you have a hearing loss in both ears, you should wear two hearing aids.
In the end we can only make recommendations and the final decision is yours. But think about it this way… when you go to the Ophthalmologist to have your eyes checked and the doctor recommends a pair of glasses, when’s the last time you said, “Doc, can I get away with just one lens?”