It’s uncommon for people to get the exact same amount of hearing loss in both ears at the same time. One ear is usually a little worse than the other, sparking many to ask the question: Can I just 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 there are certain instances, considerably less common instances, however, that a single hearing aid could be the right choice.
You Have A Pair of Ears For a Reason
Your ears effectively work as a pair whether you’re aware of it or not. That means wearing two hearing aids has some advantages over using one.
- Being Able to Localize Correctly: In order to determine where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain needs signals from both ears. It is a lot more difficult to determine where sounds are coming from when you’re only able to hear well out of one ear (which might be essential if you happen to live near a busy street, for instance).
- Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: More recent hearing aid technology is designed to work as a pair just like your ears are. The two hearing aids communicate with each other using state-of-the-art features and artificial intelligence to, similar to your brain, determine which sounds to focus on and amplify.
- Focusing on Conversations: The whole point of using a hearing aid is to help your hearing. Other people talking is something you will certainly want to hear. Wearing two hearing aids lets your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain can determine what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you want to focus on.
- Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. If your ears go long periods without input signals, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs associated with hearing receive the input necessary to maintain your hearing. If you already have tinnitus, using two hearing aids can decrease it and also improve your ability to identify sounds.
Are There Circumstances Where One Hearing Aid Is Sensible?
Wearing a pair of hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that raises the question: If someone is using a hearing aid in only one ear, why?
Usually we hear two specific reasons:
- Monetary concerns: Some people think that they can save money if they can use just one hearing aid. If you truly can’t afford to get two, getting one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should understand that over time untreated hearing loss has been confirmed to raise your overall healthcare expenses. Your healthcare costs have been shown to rise by 26 percent after just two years of untreated hearing loss. So talk to your hearing expert to make certain getting only one hearing aid is a smart idea for you. Finding ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
- One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you may be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).
One Hearing Aid is Not as Effective as Two
Two hearing aids, however, will be better than one for your ears and hearing in most situations. There are simply too many benefits to having good hearing in both ears to ignore. So, yes, in most cases, two hearing aids are a better choice than one (just as two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to have your hearing examined.