If you’re considering getting hearing aids, you likely have lots of questions about the process. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is whether or not two hearing aids are better than one.

The answer: Yes, if you have hearing loss in both ears, you almost certainly hear better with two hearing aids. (Not sure if you have bilateral hearing loss? The best way to know is to get a hearing test.)

This lingering question probably stems from the old way of doing things: Prior to about the 1980s or so, it was common for people to wear just one hearing aid even if they had hearing loss in both ears.

Eventually, though, the science won out, proving with almost absolute certainty that it’s better to wear a hearing aid in each ear. Why? Below are a few convincing reasons to equip yourself with a pair of hearing aids—instead of just one.

Note: These are not the only benefits, just some of our favorites!

1. Two hearing aids are better for your brain

Don’t risk ‘auditory deprivation’

Hearing loss is a type of sensory deprivation. Overtime, your brain will become less effective at decoding the sound around you are coming into that ear.

Understanding speech—particularly in the presence of noise—gets more difficult even when the sound is loud enough for you to hear it.

Wearing two hearing aids means each ear picks up sound and gets the stimulus it needs to stay at peak performance.

Hearing aids in both ears are well-proven to boost learning and language development in children.

2. Far better sound quality

Clearer conversations in noisy environments

One of the biggest reasons you may be considering getting hearing aids is that, besides not being able hear at normal levels, you find that even if you can hear speech, you struggle to understand it. This is especially true if there is background noise competing. Understanding speech is the foundation of good communication and there’s no better reason to seek hearing treatment.

Studies have shown wearing two hearing aids makes for clearer conversation, making it possible to better understand sound. In conclusion, pronounced improvement in sound quality and clarity and higher speech discrimination test scores for subjects who had two hearing aids compared to those who wore hearing aids in only one ear.

3. You’ll better know where a sound is coming from

Knowing what direction, a sound is coming from, or sound localization, is something people with normal hearing take for granted. From the time we are born, and we learn to turn our head in the direction of our mother’s voice, we learn to perfect this skill. Not only is finding the source of sound helpful in everyday life, but it can also be an important safety consideration. Knowing where those ambulance sirens are in relation to your car helps you know when and where to pull over to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Our two ears work in delicate harmony to make localization easy, and people who have single-sided deafness can attest to having difficulty with this skill. Researches suggest that to improve localization, the first requirement is auditory cues from wearing two hearing aids.

4. Better masking of tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

In people who have hearing loss and tinnitus (which is very common), wearing two hearing aids is highly recommended and “extremely beneficial” compared to wearing just one hearing aid.

5. You won’t have to set the volume so high

Wearing two hearing aids provides “binaural summation.” According to the Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, binaural summation is when a listener perceives greater intensity (volume) of sound when both ears are presented with a stimulus at once compared to hearing the stimulus in either ear alone.

Having an increased perception of volume from wearing two hearing aids means you’ll be able to get more “bang for your buck” in terms of loudness. Neither of your two devices will need to have the power output or be turned up as high as a single device trying to do the work of two. This can help you conserve hearing aid batteries and may even mean you can wear small hearing aids since not as much power is needed.

6. Better long-distance hearing

A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two ears, rather than just one. A voice that’s barely heard at 10 feet with one ear can be heard up to 40 feet with two ears.

7. You’ll feel less tired and even more relaxed

Many people who wear hearing aids find that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two [hearing aids] instead of just one.

This is because they do not have to strain to hear with the better ear. Thus, binaural hearing can help make life more relaxing.

Find out for yourself with a test run

If you aren’t sure whether or not you need to wear two hearing aids (or one for single-sided hearing) or are curious about the best type of hearing aids for you, visit our website to find a hearing aid clinic near you.

You’ll receive a thorough hearing test and receive the best advice for how to get back to hearing your best.


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