The benefits of hearing aids can vary greatly in different listening situations and from person to person. Having realistic expectations about what your hearing aids can and cannot do for you is crucial for your success and satisfaction.
Overall, hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to what it used to be. However, with a well-fitted hearing aid, a bit of patience, and good communication with a hearing healthcare professional, most people will notice a significant improvement in their everyday lives.One or Two Hearing Aids?
The simple answer is yes. If you have hearing loss in both ears, then you likely need two hearing aids. If you needed glasses for both eyes, would you consider buying just one lens?
The brain combines and compares sounds from both ears in order to process and make sense of what we’ve heard. Without input from both ears, the brain is not receiving the full picture.
There are a number of proven reasons why two hearing aids are better than one (from the Better Hearing Institute at www.betterhearing.org) which are summarized here:Better understanding of speech
By wearing two hearing aids rather than one, selective listening is more easily achieved. This means that your brain can focus on the conversation you want to hear. Research shows that people wearing two hearing aids routinely understand speech and conversation better than those wearing one hearing aid.Better ability to tell the direction of sound
This is called localization. In a social gathering, localization allows you to hear from which direction someone is speaking to you. Also, localization helps you determine from which direction traffic is coming or where your children or grandchildren are playing. Simply put, with binaural hearing, you will better detect where sounds are coming from in every situation.Better sound quality
When you listen to a stereo system, you use both speakers to get the smoothest, sharpest, most natural sound quality. The same can be said of hearing aids. By wearing two hearing aids, your hearing range increases from 180 degrees reception with just one instrument, to 360 degrees. This greater range provides a better sense of balance and sound quality.Smoother tone quality
Wearing two hearing aids generally requires less volume than one. The need for less volume results in less distortion and better reproduction of amplified sounds.Wider hearing range
A person can hear sounds from a further distance with two ears, rather than just one. A voice that’s barely heard at 10 feet with one ear can be heard from up to 40 feet with two ears.Better sound identification
Often, with just one hearing aid, many noises and words sound alike. With two hearing aids, as with two ears, sounds are more easily distinguishable.Keeps both ears active and lessens the potential for further hearing deterioration
Research has shown that, when only one hearing aid is worn, the unaided ear tends to lose its ability to hear and understand over time. This is clinically called the auditory deprivation effect. Wearing two hearing aids keeps both ears active and lessens the likelihood of further damaging the unaided ear.Hearing is less tiring and listening more pleasant
Binaural hearing aid wearers report that listening and participating in conversation is more enjoyable with two instruments. This is because they do not have to strain to hear with the better ear. Thus, binaural hearing can reduce lifestyle stress associated with hearing.Feeling of balanced hearing
Two-eared hearing results in a feeling of balanced sound reception, also known as the stereo effect, whereas monaural hearing creates an unusual feeling of sounds being isolated to one ear.Tinnitus Masking
About 50% of people with ringing in their ears report improvement when wearing hearing aids. If a person with tinnitus wears a hearing aid in only one ear, ringing will remain in the unaided ear.Consumer preference
An overwhelming majority of consumers who have hearing loss in both ears choose two hearing aids over one when given the choice to hear binaurally.Customer satisfaction
Research of more than 5,000 consumers with binaural hearing loss demonstrated that subjects wearing two hearings aids are more satisfied than those fit with one hearing aid.So, when in doubt, try two hearing aids first.