An individual would never ask his/her eye doctor whether it was necessary to have two lenses in their eyeglasses in order to correct vision loss in both eyes, but many people ask their hearing healthcare professional whether two hearing aids are really necessary even when both ears are impaired. Here are the top reasons why two are better than one:
1. Satisfaction. Research shows that listeners fit with hearing aids in both ears are more satisfied than listeners fit with only one device. This is because binaural hearing results in improved speech understanding performance, especially in background noise.
2. Sound localization. Both ears are used to determine which direction sounds are coming from. This is important in social situations, while driving, and even at home.
3. Both ears stay active. Individuals with hearing loss who remain unaided can experience auditory deprivation from lack of stimulation to the ears and brain. Wearing binaural amplification reduces deprivation because the ears and brain are staying busy.
4. Better sound quality. Using two ears results in stereo sound quality, whereas using only one ear (monaural) results in an imbalance of sound. Also, less volume is needed when two ears are aided, so there is less distortion of sound.
5. Increased range of hearing. With two ears, you can hear from further distance compared to listening with one ear.
6. Relief from ear ringing (tinnitus). A majority of individuals will report a reduction or absence of tinnitus with the use of amplification. If only one ear is aided, the other will continue to experience this often annoying phenomenon.
7. Ease of listening. Listening in both ears means that you do not have to strain your “good” ear during conversation. This means that listening with two hearing aids will be more pleasant and less stressful.