In many cases, people will have hearing loss in only one ear, thus making one hearing aid sufficient for them. You are most likely a candidate for two hearing aids if you have hearing loss in both ears. Despite being prescribed two hearing aids, many people still opt to wear only one. There are multiple reasons for this; one of the biggest being the high cost of hearing aids.

Should I wear one hearing aid or two?

While its completely fine to wear one hearing aid if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss in only one ear, it may not be totally innocuous to wear one hearing aid if you have bilateral hearing loss. Experts suggest that there are several benefits of binaural hearing aid amplification. Here are some of them:

  1. Better understanding of speech: Selective listening is much more easily achieved when wearing two hearing aids. This is especially true when the person is in a noisy environment. Since your brain receives auditory input from both the ears, it can easily differentiate speech from noise and focus on the important sounds to help you hear better.
  2. Better understanding of direction of sound: Similar to the way both our eyes help us perceive the world in a more detailed manner, our ears work together to give a more accurate representation of the sound around us too. Wearing two hearing aids helps people understand and identify the direction of sound quickly and easily. This makes it very natural for people with hearing loss to hold conversations in busy or crowded environments. It is also an important asset to have in our sensory arsenal when working or doing everyday activities, such as crossing the road or driving.
  3. Better sound identification: Even though people complain that sound from hearing aids seems robotic in nature and is not an exact replica of actual sound, wearing two hearing aids can gradually improve the person’s sound identification. With one hearing aid, many noises and words sound alike; however, people with two hearing aids are able to easily tell the difference between different sounds because sounds are more distinguishable.
  4. Hearing is less talking: People with one hearing aid explain that there is increased stress on one ear to hear all the different sounds. However, with binaural amplification both ears share the strain of hearing equally, making hearing more enjoyable, natural and effortless.
  5. Reduced feedback and whistling: Perhaps the biggest advantage of binaural amplification is the reduced feedback and whistling that occurs as a result of it. This makes hearing less frustrating even during activities, such as chewing and eating.
  6. Reduced tinnitus: Many people with hearing loss complain of tinnitus, which is the ringing of the ears. Wearing hearing aids often masks the tinnitus. When a person wears a hearing aid in only one ear, they can still hear the tinnitus in the other ear. Therefore, wearing two hearing aids can effectively mask all tinnitus and provide comfort to the person.

The best person to advise you on whether you need one hearing aid or two is your hearing care professional. When having your hearing evaluated, speak with your provider to find out the pros and cons of having one or two hearing aids.