Do I Need One Hearing Aid or Two?
When many people think about getting a hearing aid, they assume they will get a single hearing aid. However, many audiologists recommend that individuals get two hearing aids.
What your audiologist suggests will depend on what type of hearing loss you have, specifically which ears the deficit is in.
This article will discuss when you need one versus two hearing aids and the advantages of having two.
When does someone need one versus two hearing aids?
Individuals with hearing loss in just one ear with normal hearing in the alternate hear will typically require only one hearing aid.
However, when hearing loss is in both ears, research shows improved satisfaction with two hearing aids. Because age is a common cause of hearing loss, many individuals will require two hearing aids.
What are the benefits of two hearing aids?
The biggest advantage to having two hearing aids relates to how your ears and brain process noise.
If hearing loss is in both ears, but you wear an aid in only one ear, the other ear will be unaccounted for. Therefore, if someone were to speak into the ear without the aid, you may have difficulty hearing the sound.
Additionally, when you wear two hearing aids, the two aids communicate together to better interpret sound.
Some even hypothesize that activating the auditory nerve in an ear with hearing loss can prevent progression of hearing loss. Thus, use of a hearing aid can be a preventative measure.
Finally, using two hearing aids means you can set them at a lower volume, creating less feedback.
What does the research show?
Research supports the advantages of two hearing aids.
One study found that individuals preferring two hearing aids had better hearing outcomes versus those that preferred only one. Additionally, using two hearing aids requires less listening effort.
However, despite these findings, one study reported that 46 percent of participants preferred using only one hearing aid.
In conclusion, experts will usually recommend two hearing aids when hearing loss is in both ears. The benefits include the ability of the hearing aids to communicate with one another, prevention of additional hearing loss, less feedback, and less listening effort.
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