Alyson Earle, Audiologist explains why audiologists will almost always recommend you wear two hearing aids instead of just one if a hearing loss is in both ears.
Most hearing losses exist in both ears and the degree of hearing loss is typically very similar between both ears as well. This is because the most common causes of hearing loss - noise exposure and ageing - tend to affect both ears similarly.
There are many benefits to wearing two hearing aids; also called binaural amplification. Here are 4 (of many!) benefits:
- Improved speech understanding ability, especially in noisy environments. We have two ears for a reason, and our brain receives input from both sides to make sense of what is being said. This is especially important in noisy environments when our brain has to work much harder at following a conversation. This leads to a reduced listening effort which will allow you to be more present and confident in social situations.
- Improved ability to localize sound. Again, our brain relies on hearing from both sides to effectively identify where a sound is coming from. This helps to improve our spatial awareness.
- Improved sound quality. Sound is always better in stereo!
- It is healthier for the brain to receive stimulation from both ears rather than just one. If only one hearing aid is worn for a bilateral hearing loss, the unaided ear can suffer from auditory deprivation, or the “unaided ear effect” which can cause a reduced word understanding ability in the unaided ear.