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

For most people both ears rarely have the same exact amount of hearing loss. One ear is usually a little worse than the other, sparking many to raise the question: Can I just use one hearing aid for the ear that’s worse.

One hearing aid, in most situations, will not be preferable to two. But one hearing aid might be an acceptable choice in some less common circumstances.

It’s Not an Accident That Ears Are a Pair

Whether you know it or not, your ears efficiently work as a pair. Which means that there are some advantages to using two hearing aids.

  • Being Able to Localize Properly: In order to figure out where sounds are coming from, your brain is not only working to interpret but also to place it. In order to properly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain needs signals from both ears. It is much harder to figure out where sounds are coming from when you can only hear well out of one ear (which may be crucial if you happen to live near a busy street, for example).
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work Together: In the same way as your ears work as a pair normally, modern hearing aid technology is created to work as a pair. The artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art features work well because the two pieces communicate with one another and, similar to your brain, determine which sounds to focus on and amplify.
  • Tuning in When People Are Talking: If you’re using a hearing aid, the whole point is to assist you in hearing. One of the things you want to hear is peoples conversations happening near you. Using two hearing aids lets your brain to better tune out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain is able to figure out what is closer and consequently more likely to be something you would want to focus on.
  • Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy just like an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without an input, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears ensures that the organs linked to hearing get the input they need to maintain your hearing. Wearing two hearing aids can also help minimize tinnitus (if you have it) and improve your ability to identify sounds.

Is One Hearing Practical in Some Scenarios?

Wearing a pair of hearing aids is usually a better choice. But that brings up the question: If someone is using a hearing aid in just one ear, why?

Well, commonly there are two reasons:

  • Monetary concerns: Some people think that they can spend less money if they can use just one hearing aid. If you truly can’t afford to get two, one is better than not getting one at all. It’s important to understand, however, it has been proven that your total health costs will increase if you have untreated hearing loss. Even disregarding hearing loss for two years has been shown to raise your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear will increase your risks for things like falling. So talk to your hearing specialist to make certain only getting one hearing aid is a smart plan for you. We can also help you figure approaches to make hearing aids more affordable.
  • One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you might be best served by using a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s certainly something you should have a conversation about your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same as having one perfect ear).

Two Aids Are Better Than One

In the vast majority of situations, however, two hearing aids are going to be healthier for your ears and your hearing than just one. The benefits of hearing as well as possible out of both of your ears are simply too many to disregard. In most instances, just like having two ears is better than having only one, having two hearing aids is definitely preferable to having only one. Make an appointment with a hearing care pro to get your hearing checked.