One or Two?
If two instruments are recommended, don’t settle for one. Results of more than fifty years of research in acoustics and the auditory system have proven clear advantages of wearing two instruments, and serious disadvantages of wearing one when two are needed. All animals with ears have two of them, because the auditory system is wired to use input from both ears.
Some of the benefits of using two hearing aids include:
- Better localization ability – the ability to tell where sounds are coming from requires equal input from both ears.
- Better hearing in noise - Two hearing aids are needed to focus on sounds you want to hear, and squelch unwanted sounds like background noise.
- Better sound quality (“stereo” versus “mono”)
- Better hearing for soft sounds
- More relaxed listening – with two hearing aids, you won’t be “straining to hear”. With only one aid trying to do the job of two ears, you’re likely to get fatigued.
- Balance. You won’t have to turn your “good ear” toward what you want to listen to.
- Higher satisfaction with hearing aids! Studies show that people who wear two are more satisfied with their hearing aids than people who wear one.
Research shows that children with normal hearing in one ear and total hearing loss in the other, are ten times more likely to repeat a grade in school , indicating yet again that two ears (or two hearing aids) are required for optimal hearing. There’s also research that indicates that delaying amplification use, such as not wearing a hearing aid when it’s needed, can lead to a degradation of word understanding in that ear.
Because of all these known advantages, most people being fit with hearing aids today choose to wear them in both ears.