There are many reasons why people choose to wear two hearing aids - not least because it's a way of mimicking nature. When you suffer from hearing loss, stereo sound is one of the first things to diminish, making hearing and placing a sound very difficult. From an audiologist's point of view, if you suffer from hearing loss in both ears, you're far more likely to benefit from a binaural solution - i.e. two hearing aids.
The thought of having to wear two devices can be off putting as it may take some time to get used to the physical impact of wearing them. There's also the cost. As such, it's important to fully understand the situation before you make a decision.
What are the advantages of wearing two hearing aids?
You'll benefit from 360-degree stereo sound - which helps you pinpoint where a certain noise is coming from in the most natural way possible. Whether it is a friend trying to attract your attention in a crowded room, or a telephone ringing nearby, having some idea as to where a particular sound is coming from is invaluable.
You can filter out unwanted background noise - simply by receiving a balanced sound from around you. A noisy restaurant is a prime example of a difficult hearing environment. Your brain is capable of filtering out background interference and highlighting speech sounds, but this process is far more successful when both ears can participate.
Speech can be made much clearer - when wearing two hearing aids due to stereo sound. Conversations can therefore be much more rewarding as a result.
Two hearing aids can reduce the effects of tinnitus - while wearing hearing aids does not help all tinnitus sufferers who also have hearing loss; for some the reduction can be instantaneous and further enhanced by two hearing aids.
Less listening effort required - using two hearing aids could make conversations less tiring. Instead of being reliant on just the one good ear to participate in a discussion, the volume can be kept to a minimum and the resulting strain reduced by using binaural hearing aids.
Feedback and unwanted whistling sounds are diminished - when two hearing aids are used, due to the lower overall volume levels required.
Extra amplification can mean an increased hearing range - when using two hearing aids. Sound can be picked up from much further away.
Occasions when two hearing aids may not be suitable
- If you are suffering from a long-standing ear infection, you may find wearing a hearing aid is simply too uncomfortable to consider.
- When your hearing loss is limited to the one ear only.
- In the event of your hearing loss being significantly worse in one ear than the other.
Do the hearing aids have to be the same make or model?
In an ideal world, the answer is yes. Many of the latest hearing aids are designed to work binaurally, or as a pair. The stereo sound that will result from wearing them in tandem will be far better than without.
I hope we've answered some of your questions. If you'd like any more information or advice on your personal hearing requirements, our team of audiologists are happy to help. Feel free to call us or drop us an email at any time.