Sound Advice: The Benefits of Wearing 2 Hearing Aids
September 17, 2019
By balancing out the sound you hear, wearing two hearing aids instead of one can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable life.
The chance of having hearing loss to the same extent in both ears is rare. Usually, people experience hearing difficulties more in one ear than the other. It makes sense then, that these people should only want to wear one hearing aid, after all, it is only the one ear that needs the help, right?
The trouble with this logic is that it doesn't account for the way the human auditory system actually functions. The ears are just one element in a holistic system that also includes the brain and the central nervous system amongst other things. Even if you clearly have one good ear and one bad ear, for the sake of the overall system, it is still good counsel to wear hearing aids in both ears.
In this article, we will break down the benefits that come with wearing hearing aids in both of your ears.
A Healthy Balance For Both Your Ears
Firstly, wearing two hearing aids is far better for stimulating the brain and creating equilibrium. As with all aspects of the body, the ears have to stay active to remain functional. Just as muscles will atrophy and become useless without constant movement and exercise, so to your auditory system will deteriorate if you do not use it as it is supposed to be used.
If one ear is receiving less sound than the other, the auditory nerve pathways will become less effective at interpreting the noises around you. Difficulty understanding speech can be a major drain on your well-being. The speech recognition problem becomes worse in noisy environments which has the negative effect of making people retreat from social activity.
Increased Word Recognition
The second benefit of wearing both hearing aids is that you will simply hear better with two hearing aids as opposed to one. A Journal of the American Academy of Audiology study paid close attention to the difference in word recognition abilities between people fitted with one hearing aid and people with two. It turns out that a significantly higher number of people with two hearing aids had superior word recognition results.
Improved Sound Quality
Hearing is one thing, but what about the way it sounds? One of the difficulties with adjusting to life with hearing aids is adjusting to different and sometimes abrasive sound quality. Two hearing aids have been proven to improve sound quality for the listener by blocking out distortion. With two hearing aids, you will be able to hear the speech of your friends both loud and clear, as opposed to just loud. Not only that, but you will also be able to discriminate between different noises and voices much more easily.
Improved Sound Volume
By wearing two hearing aids, you won't have to set the amplification as high, This is a result of what the medical community calls binaural summation. The Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, defines binaural summation as the phenomenon in which the listener perceives a higher volume of sound when both ears are stimulated at once, compared to each ear being stimulated individually. Binaural summation also accounts for improvement in frequency and speech discrimination in multiple sound environments.
As a financial plus, binaural summation will reduce the wear and tear you place on your hearing aids because you won't have to turn them up as loud. This could mean your hearing aids last you a lot longer, and will also save you money on batteries as you will not be required to drain them looking for more and more amplification.
Improved Sound Localization
Sound localization is about understanding in which direction a sound is coming from. This crucial yet subtle feature of our hearing is one of many things we take for granted. A skill that we have been perfecting since birth, sound localization can deteriorate dramatically if there is an imbalance in hearing levels. Getting that harmonious balance back from ear to ear is the best way to help you localize sound, and in the long run, could prove vital for your safety.
Wearing hearing aids is a personalized experience. It is something that takes a while to get comfortable with but soon becomes second nature. The health benefits of wearing hearing aids in both ears are profound. Creating the natural balance between both ears is the best way to support the long term health of your auditory system.
There are some circumstances in which it might not be necessary to wear hearing aids in both ears, and there are tests available to help you decipher if that is the case for you. However, we strongly advise you to use them in both.
Most companies now sell their hearing aids in sets of two, and with the medical community advising it, the cost factor should not prove too difficult. If you have any concerns with your hearing aids or the quality of your hearing, please contact a medical professional.
Do you have trouble hearing? Are you having difficulties with your hearing aids? Please leave a comment in the section below and we will get back to you.