19 Sep Are Two Ears Really Better than One? Part 2 of 2.
In part 1 of this two part series, we discussed the benefits of two hearing aids when both ears have hearing loss. In general, it is advised for many reasons (outlined in Part 1) to strongly consider wearing two hearing aids. However, there are a few circumstances when two hearing aids may not be advisable:
Examples of when an audiologist may not recommend two hearing aids
Not every ear with hearing loss will do well with hearing aids. There are a few examples of when an audiologist will only recommend one hearing aid instead of two:
- When one ear has little to no residual hearing left: if an ear does not have any remaining hearing, the hearing aid will be of little benefit. A hearing aid only helps the residual hearing, so if there is no hearing left, the hearing aid can’t do its job.
- If an ear has very low scores on word understanding: this is typically an indication that the brain pathways attached to that ear have deteriorated. Aiding an ear with a low score may result in a distorted sound, so sometimes a hearing aid is not recommended in this case.
- For a few rare cases, despite the best indications of potential success with two hearing aids, certain individuals actually perform better with one hearing aid rather than two. This is called binaural interference and is a rare occurrence that audiologists are trained to monitor.
The best way to determine if two hearing aids are better than one for you is to first discuss with a qualified hearing professional. You should understand why they are recommending two aids (or not recommending two!), and carefully consider the options. If you are still unsure, it might be to your advantage to try two aids during your trial period to experience the benefits first hand prior to making your decision.
Remember: Since the brain is wired to work with input from 2 eyes for vision, 2 legs for balance, and 2 ears for hearing, sometimes it is best to trust that Mother Nature had it right the first time! (Unless of course, your audiologist recommends otherwise!)