Pros and Cons of Using One Hearing Aid or Two

“Should I wear one or two hearing aids?” This is a fairly typical question originating from the fact that hearing aids are a considerable expense.The recommendation offered by nearly all audiologists and hearing specialists is that the benefits of using two hearing aids outweigh the difference in cost, but let’s start with a few situations in which this might not be the best advice.

To begin with, if your hearing is completely normal in one ear, you plainly do not need a second hearing aid for that ear. Similarly, if you are completely and irrecoverably deaf in one ear, wearing a hearing aid in that ear is not going to help. People that have chronic ear infections may opt for a single hearing aid to avoid aggravating the recurring infection. There are also hearing loss conditions in which the sounds of speech heard in one ear are completely garbled, and in that case wearing a hearing aid in that ear is merely going to amplify the garbled sounds, which makes it harder for your brain to understand speech heard through your other ear.

Outside of these four situations, the arguments for using two hearing aids are fairly strong and backed up by numerous consumer satisfaction surveys among hearing aid users. Wearing two hearing aids greatly improves your ability to detect the source and direction of the sound. Studies have shown that most people are able to hear and understand speech better when wearing two aids, because the perceived volume of sound is higher with two hearing aids, which is even more true in a noisy environment.

If you have hearing loss in both ears, wearing two hearing aids will enable you to keep stimulating both ears, whereas wearing only one can allow the other ear to deteriorate further from lack of use. Two hearing aids are almost always better for people who have tinnitus, because hearing aids mask the ringing or buzzing sound, and wearing only one aid will allow it to continue in the other ear. Not surprisingly, consumer research studies have shown that wearing two hearing aids is less mentally tiring than wearing one.

So the arguments for wearing two hearing aids seem to outweigh those for wearing only one. For many people making this decision, they need to experience the difference between one and two hearing aids first hand. You can test out the difference by scheduling an appointment to come see us. Experience tell us that you’ll probably agree that two are better than one.