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Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids?

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Publicado el One of the more common questions I am asked as an Audiologist is whether two hearing aids are necessary.

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Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids?

  1. 1. Do I Really Need Two Hearing Aids? One of the more common questions I am asked as an Audiologist is whether two hearing aids are necessary. If you have hearing loss in both ears, known as bilateral hearing loss, you are more than likely to benefit from hearing aids in both ears. There are some good reasonsto NOT wear hearing aids in both ears: no hearing loss in one ear,very poor hearing in one ear, very poor word understanding inone ear, for example.Your hearing healthcare provider is the best person to help youdecide whether you should be wearing one hearing aid or two.Price, however, should never be a reason to wear only onehearing aid. I tell my patients I’d much rather they purchase alower cost pair than a single high-end hearing aid, if cost is theissue.Imagine buying a Mercedes Benz and only purchasing two tires,or glasses with only one lens or only one shoe. We have two earsfor a reason and there are things that the ears can do whenworking together that they cannot do when working alone. Letme share with you some of the reasons why two hearing aids arebetter than one.Better understanding of speech
  2. 2. By wearing two hearing aids instead of just one, you may noticeyou can better focus in on one speaker in a difficult listeningsituation where multiple people are talking at the same time. Inother words, your brain can focus in on the conversation youwant to hear. Research shows that wearing two hearing aidssignificantly improves speech understanding in noise compared topeople who wear only one hearing aid.Better ability to tell where sounds are coming fromBeing able to tell where sounds are coming from is calledlocalization and is one of the more important functions of binauralhearing. Suppose you drop something on the floor and it rollsaway from you. Equal hearing between the ears will allow you tobetter determine where the object you dropped actually went.More importantly, localization helps you determine from whichdirection a siren is coming in traffic. Localization can be veryimportant to your safety.Better sound qualityWhen sound enters the ears and is then passed up the hearingsystem to the brain, the brain completes what is called binauralsummation. Binaural summation means that sound is actuallymuch louder than the sum of the individual ears once it isprocessed by the brain. For a simple word picture to explain this:one plus one does not equal two when we’re talking aboutbinaural sound processing in the brain, it’s more like one plus oneequals three and a half.This summation improves the volume of the sound but also givesthe perception of “stereo” sound quality. By wearing two hearingaids, you also increase your hearing range from 180 degrees
  3. 3. reception with just one amplified ear to 360 degrees (surroundsound).Keep both ears activeResearch has shown that when only one hearing aid is worn, theear without a hearing aid tends to lose its ability understandclearly. This is the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”In Audiology, we call this auditory deprivation. Wearing twohearing aids is important in order to keep both ears active.When most of my patients ask if they can “get by” with onehearing aid, my answer is yes, you can “get by”.But it’s not the best solution for most hearing losses and canoften aggravate some of the more common reasons for getting ahearing aid in the first place, like wanting to hear better in noise.Before you decide on one hearing aid, try two. I’m positive you’llbe convinced that two is better than one. For More Information Binaural Hearing, Call American Hearing & Balance At: (310) 773-4453 Or Visit Us At: