“Should I wear 1 or 2 hearing aids?” It is a relatively typical question stemming from the fact that hearing aids are a sizeable financial investment. The advice offered by the majority of audiologists and hearing specialists is that the advantages of using two hearing aids outweigh the difference in cost, but let’s begin with a couple scenarios in which this might not be the best advice.
First, if you have hearing loss in only one ear but your hearing in the other ear is normal, you obviously do not need a second hearing aid. Similarly, if you are completely and irrecoverably deaf in one ear, wearing a hearing aid in that ear is not going to help. Some people experience chronic and recurring ear infections, which can in many cases be aggravated by hearing aids, so in this case wearing a single aid may be an advantage. Also, if the nature of your hearing loss in one ear is that sounds are so distorted that you cannot understand speech at all through that ear, wearing a hearing aid in that ear will in many cases merely amplify the garbled speech, and make it more difficult for your brain to understand speech heard through your better ear.
Outside of these four situations, the arguments for using two hearing aids are fairly strong and backed up by numerous consumer satisfaction surveys among hearing aid users. Two hearing aids greatly enhance your ability to perceive the source of the sounds you hear, and provides a more realistically balanced sound. Studies have shown that most people are able to hear and understand speech better when wearing two aids, because the perceived volume of sound is higher with two hearing aids, which is even more true in a noisy environment.
If you have hearing loss in both ears, wearing two hearing aids will enable you to keep stimulating both ears, whereas wearing only one can allow the other ear to deteriorate further from lack of use. If you suffer from tinnitus or a ringing in both ears, wearing only one aid will allow the ringing in the other ear to continue. Not surprisingly, consumer research studies have shown that wearing two hearing aids is less mentally tiring than wearing one.
All told, the case for wearing two hearing aids is more persuasive than the case for wearing only one. For many people making this decision, they need to experience the difference between one and two hearing aids first hand. You can test out the difference by scheduling an appointment to come see us. Our many years of experience lead us to believe that when you make your decision, you’ll agree with us that two are better than one.