Hearing Health Blog

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

It’s unusual that people get identical degree of hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. One ear is usually a little bit worse than the other, sparking many to ask the question: Can I simply use one hearing aid in the ear that’s worse.

In many situations, two hearing aids are going to be better than just one. But one hearing aid might be more appropriate in some less common scenarios.

You Have Two Ears For a Reason

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

  • The Ability to Correctly Localize: In order to figure out where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. This is a lot easier when your brain can triangulate, and to do that, it requires solid inputs from both ears. It is a lot harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (Which could come in handy, for instance, if you live near a busy street).
  • Concentrating When People Are Talking: If you’re using a hearing aid, the whole point is to assist you in hearing. Other people conversing is something you will definitely want to hear. Because your brain has more sound input when wearing hearing aids, it is better capable of filtering out background noise allowing it to decide what sounds to focus on because they are closer.
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: Just as your ears work as a pair naturally, modern hearing aid technology is designed to function as a pair. The artificial intelligence and sophisticated features work well because the two pieces communicate with each other and, much like your brain, recognize which sounds to focus on and amplify.
  • Improved Ear Health: In the same way as seldom used muscles can atrophy, so too can an unused sense. If your ears go long periods without an input, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Get the organs of your ears the input they require to maintain your hearing by using two hearing aids. If you have tinnitus, wearing two hearing aids can decrease it and also increase your ability to discern sounds.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Some Scenarios?

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

Normally we hear two specific reasons:

  • You still have perfect hearing out of one ear: If just one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using 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).
  • Financial concerns: Some people think that they can spend less money if they can use just one hearing aid. If you really can’t afford to get two, getting one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should know that eventually untreated hearing loss has been shown to raise your overall healthcare costs. Even disregarding hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear will increase your risks for things like falling. So speak with your hearing expert to make sure getting only a single hearing aid is a smart idea for you. We can also help you brainstorm approaches to make hearing aids more budget friendly.

One Hearing Aid is Not as Beneficial as Two

Two hearing aids, however, are going to be better than one for your ears and hearing in most circumstances. There are just too many benefits to having strong hearing in both ears to dismiss. So, yes, in most cases, two hearing aids are a better choice than one (just like two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to get your hearing checked.

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