If you have hearing loss in both ears, and if both ears can benefit from hearing aids, then it's more likely that you will hear much better with two hearing aids.

It's important to realize that there are no "normal" animals born with only one ear. Animals - and humans - have two ears because we need two ears. If you try to amplify sound in only one ear, you should not expect to hear very well. Even the best hearing aids will sound "flat" or "dull" if worn in only one ear.

There are many advantages associated with binaural (two ear) listening and, just as importantly, there are problems associated with wearing only one hearing aid. Localization (knowing where sound comes from) is only possible with two ears. In fact, it's just about impossible with one ear. Localization is not just a sound quality issue, it's also a safety issue. Think about how important it is to quickly determine where warning and safety sounds such as sirens, screams, and a baby's cries are coming from.

Using both ears together also impacts how well you hear in noisy environments, because binaural hearing permits your brain to selectively attend to the desired signal while "squelching" or paying less attention to undesired sounds such as background noise. Binaural hearing allows a quality of "spaciousness" or "high fidelity" to sounds, which cannot occur with monaural (one ear) listening.

Understanding speech clearly, particularly in noisy situations, is much easier while using both ears. Additionally, using two hearing aids allows people to speak to you from either side of your head, not just your "good" side.

People generally cannot hear well using only one ear. We know that if you have two ears with hearing impairment and you wear only one hearing aid, the unaided ear is likely to lose word recognition ability more quickly than the ear wearing the hearing aid. (Information provided by Oticion.)

For additional information, contact Manatee Ear Center. We've been providing high-quality hearing aids to Manatee and Sarasota County, Florida since 1977.