A hearing loss diagnosis can be overwhelming, in part because of the cost of treatment. In most cases, two hearing aids are recommended instead of just one, prompting many to ask if two devices are really necessary. If your audiologist recommends you wear two hearing devices, rest assured they’re not trying to make extra money off you; they are simply following evidence-based practices and have your best interest at heart.
Does Everyone Need to Wear Two Hearing Aids?
In short, no, not everyone who has hearing loss needs to wear two hearing aids.
Those with hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing in the other ear only need one device. For those with hearing loss in both ears, however, two devices will be recommended, even if one ear is better than the other.
Two Devices Are Better than One
There are many benefits to wearing two hearing aids instead of just one.
Two hearing devices allows your brain to process sound through binaural hearing.
When hearing is normal, sound signals enter both ears and are similar in strength. The brain then picks out important sounds like voices and filters out background noise. However, if you have hearing loss in both ears but wear just one hearing aid, voices may seem softer than the background noise, and it will be harder for your brain to focus on the important sounds.
It’s also the case that your brain has a harder time identifying the location of a sound when only one ear is aided. For those with normal hearing, the brain compares the qualities of the sound signals coming through each ear. But if sounds are always louder in one ear, the brain can’t use this information to identify the direction of the sound source.
Experts theorize that wearing two hearing aids can help conserve hearing in the weaker ear. This is because strong sound signals coming through hearing aids keep the auditory nerve stimulated. Though there’s no proof that auditory nerves deteriorate from inadequate stimulation, research shows that other parts of the nervous system, including the brain, suffer from lack of use.
For more information about the benefits of binaural hearing or to schedule an appointment, call Hearing Health Centers today.