I believe this question is asked frequently. I have this question when I purchasing new hearing aids. Buying two hearing aids mean pay double. Does it worth? My answer is often a Yes because two hearing aids can give you a lot of advantages. It improves your understanding of people’s words and gives you a more natural hearing experience. For details, see the post below.
List of reason:
- Better Understanding in Noise
The organ helps us to hear clearly in a noisy environment is our brain. By comparison the difference between the sound sources from two ears, our brain is able to filter the unwanted noise and conversation to allow us focusing on the important conversation. Since the comparison process of sound is the key, using one hearing aid cannot take this advantage.
- Larger Volume
It makes sense that wearing one more hearing aid gives you a louder sound. Wearing two hearing aids give you up to 10 dB additional gain in sound volume. Do not look down on this 10 dB! It can improve your understanding of conservation obviously.
- Better Localization
It is the ability to locate the direction or location of a sound source. Imagine that you only wear one hearing aid on the left ear, all the sound only come to the aided ear. Does it mean that all the sound come from the left side? Of course, no. The sound may also come from the right side. But, since the right side cannot hear, all the sound seems from the left side. Besides the location of the sound source, this ability can detect the direction of sound which is important in daily life. For example, you are crossing the road. It is dangerous that if you cannot notice the coming car. To obtain a better localization, two hearing aids are necessary.
- Prevents Auditory Deprivation
It is a basic concept that if you do not use an ability, it will deteriorate. I have learned to play guitar since I was 10. But, now, I forgot how to play guitar due to the lack of practice. So, hearing ability is the same. If you only wear one hearing aid, the unaided ear is not used. The auditory nerve of the unaided ear is not stimulated. The unaided may have the same hearing ability but poor understanding of speech than before.
- Reduce Tinnitus
Patients with hearing loss usually have tinnitus. As they have hearing loss, the low volume of sound in ear makes tinnitus more obvious. A sound is required to mask the tinnitus. Wearing two hearing aids can mask tinnitus in both ears.
- Improve understanding of Speech
It is the most important reason to me. When I use only one hearing aid, I find a great difficulty in group communication. When a person in a group talks, I have to use my eyes to identify who is talking first and then focus on him or her speech. This process is time-consuming when there is a lot of people. I have to move my head a lot figure out the talking person. It would be better if you wear two instead of one, your brain can help you to find out the talking person. Focus on speech become easier.
Who may consider buying one hearing aid only?
- Hearing loss happens on one ear only
You are lucky if you are this case. Since you have a normal ear, it is not required for you to purchase two hearing aids to take the advantages of binaural hearing.
If your budget cannot afford to buy two hearing aids, it is okay for you to buy one only. Two hearing aids provide you extra and additional features. Using one hearing aid has no effects on the overall listening experience.
If you still cannot decide to buy one or two, you may visit the hearing center and try comparing the difference between wearing one hearing aid and two. It can give you a more specific sense to make a decision. If you still have problems about getting one or two, you may leave your comments below. Hope my experience is useful to you.