If you are ready to confront your untreated hearing loss once and for all, you may have lots of questions about the process. One of the most frequent questions we get asked at Strauss Audiology is whether or not two hearing aids are better than one and if it will help to hear better and simple answer is yes. In other words, two is better than one, so opt to wear two hearing aids rather than one hearing aid.
Why you need two hearing aids?
We almost always recommend two hearing aids if you have hearing loss in both ears, because you will hear far better with two hearing aids instead of one. You have two-sided hearing but only one brain.
In other words, your ears detect noise, but it’s your brain that processes random noise into recognisable sound. It’s far easier if your brain is receiving signals from both ears. We will program each hearing aid separately to match the precise levels of amplification you need in each ear. It is normal to have different levels of hearing loss in each ear.
This is a well-known recommendation. For decades, research in the field of hearing science has supported the common sense idea of wearing two hearing aids (with a few exceptions, which we discuss below). Here are a few convincing reasons to equip yourself with a pair of devices instead of just one:
Two-sided hearing aids fully stimulate your brain
You probably know one of the best ways to keep your body healthy and in good working order is to use it to its full capacity, which means getting regular exercise, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and getting your steps in for the day. On the other hand, when we don’t move and use our muscles, they tend to weaken and can even atrophy over time.
Don’t risk ‘auditory deprivation’
Even though your ears aren’t muscles, depriving them of sound can make the auditory nerve pathways and the associated centres in the brain less effective at decoding the sound around you. Understanding speech, particularly in the presence of noise gets more difficult even when the sound is loud enough for you to hear it. We call this auditory deprivation. Wearing two hearing aids means each ear picks up sound and gets the stimulus it needs to stay at peak performance. That is why we say two is better than one.
Far better sound quality with two hearing aids
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, the sound isn’t clear. This may mean you have trouble understanding what others are saying, even in your good ear, especially if there is background noise competing. Understanding speech is the foundation of good communication and there’s no better reason to seek hearing treatment.
Research has shown wearing two hearing aid helps with clearer conversation, making it possible to better understand sound. The study concluded a pronounced improvement in sound quality and clarity and higher speech discrimination test scores for patients who had two hearing aids compared to those who wore hearing aids in only one ear.
You won’t have to set the amplification as high
Wearing two hearing aids provides binaural outline. This means that when a listener perceives greater intensity of sound when both ears are presented with a stimulus compared to hearing the stimulus in either ear alone. This phenomenon is also associated with an improved ability to discriminate frequencies and improved speech understanding whether you’re in a noisy or quiet environment.
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. You see, two is better than one!?
You’ll better know where sound is coming from
Knowing what direction a sound is coming from, or sound localisation, 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. Our two ears work in delicate harmony to make localisation easy, and people who have single-sided deafness can attest to having difficulty with this skill.
Higher user satisfaction
If the above reasons aren’t enough for you, most of our patients report higher hearing aid satisfaction when they wear two hearing aids instead of just one. Wearing two hearing aids will bring more satisfaction. And, isn’t that why you want hearing aids to begin with?
Curious about hearing aids?
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, book a consultation with us. You’ll receive a thorough hearing test and receive the best advice for how to get back to hearing your best.
About Strauss Audiology
Strauss Audiology is a professional audiology business in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, offering expert, effective hearing advice that is tailored to clients’ unique hearing needs. We conduct hearing evaluations, hearing tests and vertigo assessments, and provide a range of solutions to improve and protect clients’ hearing. This includes providing hearing aids to Cape Town clients. With 13 years of experience, and with the qualifications and certifications to deliver leading hearing care, you can trust us to take care of your hearing needs.
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