Should I Buy One Or Two Hearing Aids? | Clearly Hearing | Clearly Hearing
Steve W

Should I Buy One Or Two Hearing Aids?

Well that depends. Do you have hearing loss in both of your ears?


Basically, if both of your ears have hearing loss and can be helped with hearing aids, you need two hearing aids to achieve your best hearing.

Advantages to hearing equally from both ears are numerous, but I'll hi-lite three:

  1. Increased speech clarity in noisy environments
  2. Improved ability to locate the direction of sound
  3. Balanced hearing, the way nature intended  

Sounds gathered by our ears are sent to our brain for interpretation. We all give our ears the credit for hearing, but it's really in our brains where hearing occurs. It's important to understand how the brain utilizes the messages sent from both ears:

  • to help us hear in noisy environments, and
  • give us the ability to localize the direction of sound

If you have hearing loss, you've experienced how challenging hearing in noisy environments such as restaurants, coffee shops and classes, can be. In these situations, one hearing aid is definitely better than none, but the one-eared listener hears all the voices and noises blended together, and rarely achieves satisfactory results in noisy environments. This is because the brain, where we process hearing, requires almost equal stimulation from both ears in order to filter out, or suppress, unwanted sound signals. When the brain is able to process hearing equally from both ears, it makes it possible to hear speech in noisy environments much better.

How does hearing equally from both ears affect my ability to tell what direction sound comes from?

When both ears hear at about the same level, the brain can detect subtle time differences from a sound source entering each ear to determine exactly where the sound came from, whether is was from up, down, left or right. If one ear hears better than the other, the brain cannot detect these time differences and struggles to detect where sounds are coming from.

Will hearing equally with both ears improve my quality of life?

Based on our years of personal experience, almost all of the clients we've worked with that started with one hearing aid and later purchased a second one explained a significant improvement in their overall communication and a noticeable improvement in their quality of life.  

Nature gave us two ears for a reason, balanced hearing connects us to our environment and provides an improved quality of sound in every environment we live in.

Will the ear that doesn't get the hearing aid be affected in a permanent or negative way?

Yes.  As a hearing health provider I believe it's important that everyone living with hearing loss understands the potential damage that doing nothing can have on your ability to hear clearly.  I've worked with many clients who have purchased one hearing aid when they had hearing loss in both ears.  Over the years those clients followed a pattern.  The pattern was that the ear that wore the hearing aid maintained its original level of speech clarity (the ability to tell the difference between similar words, like Peach, Teach & Beach) but the ear without the hearing aid would decline in speech clarity.

The Doctors, Audiologists and Hearing Aid Practitioners call this Auditory Deprivation which can be defined as a significant decrease in an unaided ear's ability to recognize speech and a decrease in general hearing ability due to a lack of auditory stimulation.  In other words, the ability of the auditory system to process speech declines due to lack of stimulation (hearing loss). With auditory deprivation, the brain gradually loses some of its auditory processing ability which would affect one's general hearing ability. 

When it comes to your ears, if you don't use them you definitely can lose them!

Is there ever a time when someone should only wear 1 hearing aid if they have hearing loss in both ears?

YES, Some people have poor speech clarity in one ear compared to the other and amplifying sound in the worse ear may only provide distortion and noise. With clearly hearings return policy you have nothing to lose by starting with 2 hearing aids. If over your 100 day trial period you find that wearing one hearing aid provides greater clarity and comfort than wearing two, simply return the one that isn't benefiting you for a full refund*.

In clinical environments Hearing Healthcare providers will play word lists into each ear and calculate a speech discrimination score to help evaluate whether both ears will benefit from amplification. In cases where an individual can hear with 40% or better clarity between ears only a hearing aid in the better ear will be recommended.

*As per terms of refund policy













"Wearing one hearing aid when you have hearing loss in both ears makes as much sense as wearing a monocle when you have vision loss in both eyes"


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