The thought of wearing one hearing aid, let alone two, can be a daunting prospect for many of us seeking to rectify our hearing loss for the first time. There’s the physical challenge of getting used to wearing something in both ears for protracted periods; then there’s the considerable financial cost to be considered.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re suffering from hearing loss in both ears, it’s normally advisable to wear two hearing aids to combat the problem. From an audiologist’s perspective, a binaural approach to tackling hearing loss is by far the best approach. It is, after all emulating what nature intended for us. If you choose to enhance your hearing capacity by wearing a hearing aid in just the one ear, this natural balance is thrown off kilter and you stand to lose out on the benefits we would normally take for granted.
There are however certain circumstances where you may consider only using one hearing aid, which can include:
- When your hearing loss is restricted to just the one ear
- When your hearing loss is significantly worse in one ear than the other
- If you are suffering from a protracted ear infection precluding the use of a hearing aid.
So what are the advantages of wearing two hearing aids?
The ability to localize sound - means you can figure out where a sound is coming from and act accordingly. It allows you to locate where your friend is when they call your name in a busy room or from what direction the emergency services are approaching when you hear a siren.
The capacity to filter noise – is enhanced when you experience balanced hearing in both ears. Your brain is wired to separate background interference from relevant sounds such as speech. By wearing just the one hearing aid, this equilibrium is disrupted, making it harder to distinguish between the different sounds. This skill is particularly important when you find yourself in a noisy situation or crowded room.
Improved clarity of speech – is noticeable when both ears are able to generate sound. Being able to distinguish between speech and general noise becomes so much easier when you can listen in stereo.
Reduced effects of tinnitus – for some people can be instantaneous when wearing two hearing aids. The unwanted ringing in the ears caused by this condition can be significantly reduced, if not eradicated when using binaural hearing amplification.
Irritating feedback and whistling - is kept to a minimum when wearing two hearing aids. Lower volume levels are normally required when there are two devices working in tandem, which in turn creates less interference.
Less effort and greater comfort – can be achieved with binaural hearing aids. Conversations often prove to be less tiring when you are not reliant on one good ear and the requirement for greater volume levels are reduced, making the listening experience so much more enjoyable.
Increased range of hearing – is experienced when you wear two hearing aids rather than one.
Stereo sound – can be achieved when two hearing aids are utilized. This is a more natural approach to hearing when exposure to 360-degree sound is made possible.
There are so many good reasons for taking the plunge and opting for binaural hearing aids as many of our customers would testify. If you choose to take this route, another question HearingDirect often gets asked is 'whether they have to be the same type of hearing aid for both ears?'. The simple answer is ideally yes, they should be. Many of the latest models are at their best when working in tandem, providing a wraparound sound that can transform your listening experience.
Hearing requirements can vary from one individual to another so it’s important for you to know that you don’t have to make these decisions alone.
For advice tailored to your specific needs, please don’t hesitate to ask our very own team of audiologists who would be only too happy to assist you. HearingDirect are here to help.