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Is It Okay to Wear Just One Hearing Aid?
Whether hearing loss is new to you, or you've had it for some time, you may have wondered whether it's okay to wear just one hearing aid instead of two. You can wear just one hearing aid, but it's advised to wear two for a number of reasons, which we will outline below. But first, let's take a look at instances where wearing one hearing aid is advised over wearing two.
According to some reports, even though a person has hearing loss in both ears, one hearing aid can be more successful than two for people with cognitive delays or dementia. Two hearing aids are believed to be overstimulating the brain and auditory pathways.
Even with hearing loss in only one ear, your audiologist will likely recommend a second one to benefit the overall sound experience. Many individuals find wearing just one hearing aid makes them feel off balance, and may make them feel like the hearing in their “regular” ear is off.
Why is it recommended to wear two hearing aids?
If you have hearing loss in both ears, it is almost always recommended that you use two hearing aids instead of one because you can hear much better with two hearing aids. Even though you have bilateral hearing, you only have one brain. To put it another way, your ears sense noise, but it's your brain that converts it into identifiable sound. When the brain receives messages from both ears, it makes things a lot simpler.
Even if your hearing loss is different in both ears (which is entirely normal) your audiologist will program your hearing aids to the right level of amplification.
You could risk auditory deprivation
Despite the fact that your ears aren't muscles, stripping them of sound will render your auditory nerve pathways and related brain centers less efficient at interpreting the sounds around you. Even when the sound is loud enough for you to hear, understanding speech becomes more difficult in the presence of background noise. Auditory deprivation is the term used by hearing healthcare professionals to describe this disorder.
Better sound quality
One of the main reasons you may be considering getting hearing aids is that, in addition to not being able to hear at normal levels, you've noticed that even though you can hear speech, it's not clear. This could indicate that you are having difficulty interpreting what others are saying, even with your good ear. This is particularly true if there is conflicting background noise. There's no better reason to pursue hearing treatment than the fact that understanding speech is the basis of effective communication.
According to research, wearing two hearing aids allows for clearer communication and improved sound understanding. The study found that participants who wore two hearing aids had significantly better sound quality and clarity, as well as higher speech discrimination test scores, than those who wore hearing aids in just one ear.
The amplification levels won't need to be as high
Wearing two hearing aids increases your perception of volume, helping you to get more "bang for your buck" in terms of loudness. Neither of your two devices would need as much power or be turned up as a single device attempting to do the job of two. This will help you save money on hearing aid batteries and even allow you to wear smaller hearing aids because less power is needed.
Your sound localization will be improved
Sound localization, or knowing which way a sound is coming from, is something that people with regular hearing take for granted. We learn to master this ability from the moment we are born and learn to turn our heads in the direction of our mother's voice. Finding the source of sound is not only useful in daily life, but it can also be a vital safety consideration.
Knowing where the ambulance sirens are in relation to your car will help you determine when and where you should pull over to enable emergency vehicles to pass. People with single-sided deafness can admit to having difficulty with this ability since our two ears function in delicate harmony to make localization easy.
While you can wear only one hearing aid if you only experience hearing loss in one ear, audiologists recommend wearing two for all of the above reasons. Not only that, wearing two hearing aids gives the user a more natural hearing experience. If you're experiencing hearing loss or would like to talk to an audiologist, call Imagine Hearing Solutions on (530) 392-4533 today.