If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss recently and been prescribed binaural hearing aids (for both ears), you probably have some questions. The first one likely is “Do I really need to wear two hearing aids?” There are many advantages to wearing two hearing aids instead of one, which are overviewed below.
When Are Two Devices Necessary?
Not everyone who has hearing loss needs to wear two hearing aids. Those with hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing in the other ear only need one device. But for those with hearing loss in both ears, even if one has only a mild loss, two devices will be recommended.
Advantages to Two Devices
There are several reasons backed by research that wearing two devices is more beneficial than just one for people with bilateral hearing loss.
Wearing two hearing devices allows your brain to process sound binaurally. For those with normal hearing, equally strong sound signals enter both ears. The brain then picks out important sounds like voices and filters out unwanted background noise. However, for those with hearing loss in both ears but who wear just one hearing aid, voices may seem softer than the background noise, and it is harder for their brains to focus on the important sounds.
Your brain also has a harder time identifying the location of a sound when only one ear is aided. For those with normal hearing, the brain compares the qualities of the sound signals coming through each ear. But if sounds are always louder in one ear, the brain is unable to use this information to identify the direction of the sound source.
Experts theorize that wearing two hearing aids may help conserve hearing in the weaker ear. This is because strong sound signals coming through hearing aids keep the auditory nerve stimulated. While there’s no proof that auditory nerves actually deteriorate from inadequate stimulation, research shows that other parts of the nervous system, such as the brain, suffer from lack of use.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hearing Services of Santa Barbara today.