Are Two Hearing Aids Better Than One?

Are Two Hearing Aids Better Than One?

In Hearing Loss by Dr. Robert Hooper Au.D.

A common question people have is whether they can use one hearing aid rather than two. People often initially think that they can get by with one hearing aid. This could be to save costs or the perception that their hearing is bad (or worse) in one ear over the other. However, hearing healthcare experts typically recommend using two hearing aids which provides a more balanced and higher quality listening experience. Using two hearing aids, instead of one, is generally accepted as contributing to better hearing. Far less common, there are a few exceptions where one hearing aid is recommended which we will discuss below. 

Benefits of Two Hearing Aids 

There are numerous benefits and reasons why using two hearing aids is recommended. Your hearing ability can be different in each ear. This means that each ear absorbs and processes sound at different levels. Using two hearing aids allows your distinct hearing needs in each ear to be met. This provides greater: 

  • Ability to Hear: hearing aids have technology that reduce background noise. This allows people to clearly hear speech and sound in noisy places. Using one hearing aid means that the other ear is still absorbing background noise. This is a barrier to hearing effectively. The brain is overworked trying to process the increased stimuli your ears are collecting which can lead to less comprehension and fatigue. 
  • Safety: two hearing aids allows people to better locate where sounds are coming from. It has been shown that using one hearing aid makes it more difficult to know exactly the direction of sound, especially when in environments with loud background noise. Being able to identify where sounds are coming from increases safety and awareness.  
  • Healthier Auditory System: two hearing aids allow both ears to equally participate in the process of hearing. When one ear is absorbing and processing auditory signals, the other ear can suffer from “not being used” in the same way. It can actually struggle to recognize sounds over time and experience greater hearing impairment. Two hearing aids supports both ears staying active which also supports healthier cognitive function.  
  • Better Range and Tone Quality: two hearing aids widens one’s hearing range and allows people to hear sounds from a greater distance. Additionally, it’s easier to process and hear sounds at louder volumes. 
  • Reduced Hearing Aid Volume: two hearing aids allows people to better perceive the intensity of sound because both ears are absorbing and processing that sound. This prevents people from having to adjust and increase the volume on their hearing aid.
  • Increased Overall Satisfaction:  People often recognize drastic differences between one hearing aid versus two, reporting that using two hearing aids improved the quality of hearing remarkably. 

Using two hearing aids enhances the quality of sound a person is able to hear, providing a more dynamic and complete listening experience. 

When One Hearing Aid is Advised 

Though two hearing aids is the general recommendation, there are instances where one hearing aid may be advised. A few examples include: 

  • Unbalanced hearing: if a person has mild or moderate hearing loss in one ear and no impairment in the other ear, using one hearing aid could be more helpful in balancing hearing. However, the “good” ear should be regularly assessed. 
  • Cognitive impairment: for people who are experiencing cognitive delays or dementia, research has shown that one hearing aid could be better. Two hearing aids may cause over-stimulation of the auditory pathways leading to the brain which contribute to speech and sound comprehension. 

These cases are rare and should be thoroughly discussed with a hearing healthcare expert. 

Commit to Better Hearing Today

Two hearing aids provide robust and quality sound that significantly improves one’s ability to hear. This also improves speech and sound comprehension which is critical for effective communication. Increased hearing and enhanced communication allows you to navigate life on a daily basis with greater ease. If you are interested in knowing more and learning about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with us today! It is crucial to identify and address your hearing needs as soon as possible, doing so can drastically improve your life!