Man able to enjoy lively party because he's using two hearing aids instead of one.

It’s unusual that people get the same degree of hearing loss in both ears at the same time. Because one ear commonly has worse loss of hearing than the other, it raises the question: Can I just get one hearing aid for the ear that’s worse.

One hearing aid, in most cases, will not be better than two. But there are some instances, dramatically less common instances, however, that one hearing aid might be the way to go.

There’s a Reason Why You Have A Pair of Ears

Your ears efficiently work as a pair whether you know it or not. That means wearing two hearing aids has specific advantages over using one.

  • Being Able to Localize Properly: In order to determine where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. So that you can correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain requires signals from both ears. It is a lot more difficult to figure out where sounds are coming from when you’re only able to hear well out of one ear (which could be essential if you happen to live near a busy street, for example).
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: More recent hearing aid technology is made to work as a pair just like your ears are. The artificial intelligence and advanced features function well because the two hearing aids communicate with each other and, similar to your brain, recognize which sounds to amplify and focus on.
  • Improved Ear Health: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without input signals, your hearing can start to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs linked to hearing receive the input necessary to preserve your hearing. If you already have tinnitus, wearing two hearing aids can decrease it and also increase your ability to identify sounds.
  • Tuning in on Conversations: If you’re using a hearing aid, the whole point is to aid your hearing. One of the things you want to hear is peoples conversations going on around you. Because your brain has more sound stimulation when wearing hearing aids, it is better capable of filtering out background noise letting it determine what sounds to concentrate on because they are closer.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Some Situations?

Wearing two hearing aids is usually a better choice. But that brings up the question: why would anybody use a hearing aid in just one ear?

Well, commonly there are two reasons:

  • Monetary concerns: Some people think if they can make do with just one they will spend less. Getting one hearing aid is better then not getting any at all if you can’t really afford a pair. However, you should know that with time untreated hearing loss has been confirmed to increase your overall healthcare costs. Even disregarding hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear can increase your risks for things like falling. So talk to your hearing professional to make certain only getting a single hearing aid is a good plan for you. Finding ways to help make hearing aids more affordable is an additional service we offer.
  • You still have perfect hearing in one ear: If only one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s definitely something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).

Two Aids Are Preferable to One

Two hearing aids, however, will be better than one for your ears and hearing in the vast majority of instances. The benefits of hearing as well as possible out of both of your ears are simply too plentiful to ignore. So, yes, in the majority of situations, two hearing aids are better than one (just as two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care pro to have your hearing tested.