Current statistics show that hearing loss around the world is on the rise. In fact, over the last 30 years in the U.S. alone, the number of people with hearing loss has doubled to an estimated 34 million. A more disturbing trend may be that more young people each year are being diagnosed with hearing loss due to reasons such as noise exposure and the increased use of personal listening devices. These are just some of the reasons that we at Advanced Affordable Hearing have made it our mission to help people hear better, and for a lower price.
As a hearing aid company, one of our most frequently asked questions is: “Are two hearing aids better than one?” In most cases, the answer is a simple 'yes.' However, there are many scenarios, such as convenience, cost, or hearing loss in only one ear, that may drive an individual to wear only one hearing aid. But in reality, most people should elect to wear two hearing aids instead of just one. Here's why.
The Science Behind Why Two Hearing Aids is Better
Our brains are designed to use both ears to fully understand our surroundings. Generally speaking, hearing instruments work best in pairs to deliver the optimum hearing experience.
The ears are like muscles: If you don't use them properly you may lose the ability to clearly understand speech with the non-hearing aid ear. Doctors call this 'auditory deprivation effect,' and it can lead to aggravated hearing loss in the ear that does not utilize an aid. It is not uncommon for individuals wearing only one hearing aid to develop loss of hearing in their good ear over time, as it overcompensates to offset the poor ear.
The ultimate goal of hearing aids is not just to send sound into the ear: It is also essential to keep auditory nerves engaged and retrain the central auditory system in the brain. Since, most hearing impairments affect both ears you’re shortchanging one of your ears if you opt for a single device.
The Top Six Reasons to Wear Two Hearing Aids
If you're not quite convinced that wearing two hearing aids is best, here are the top six reasons why wearing two hearing aids is more beneficial.
- Better Hearing in Noise - An individual's hearing in noise can be improved by up to 3 times if the signal reaching each ear arrives at a slightly different moment in time as controlled by your hearing aids. This is technically referred to as 'phase.' When the brain receives slightly different, yet still audible signals at the two ears, it has the ability to cross-correlate and process the primary signal (usually speech) better than if the signal is received monaurally.
- Reduces Tinnitus - Tinnitus is the official term for what most people call “ringing in the ears.” It can often be an effect from the trauma caused one's hearing loss. The loud noise exposure, either brief or long term, can do two things: It wears out the fine inner ear hair cells, which causes hearing loss, but it also cause a ringing sensation due to a lack of stimulation to the nerves that used to carry the sound information up to the brain. Studies have shown that bilateral amplification, as provided by wearing two hearing aids, can reduce or eliminate tinnitus; however, the same results were not found when an indnividual was using just one hearing aid.
- Improved Clarity - With only one hearing aid, an individual may hear things louder on one side, but it does not always bring back the clarity and understanding of speech that he or she was expecting. Research has shown that there is a 5 percent increase in speech perception when using bilateral amplification versus unilateral. In addition, bilateral amplification provided brightness, clarity, fullness, loudness, nearness, smoothness, fullness, and spaciousness where unilateral amplification could not.
- Improved Localization Ability - Localization is our ability to identify the direction a sound is coming from, or the location of a sound source. It is important to be able to identify where someone is when they are talking to us. If we are unable to locate them, our brain has a difficult time focusing on what they are saying to us. The brain determines where a sound is coming from on the basis of 3 factors: 1) the relative time in which the sound arrives at each ear, 2) the relative difference in loudness at the two ears, and 3) the relative difference in the pitch of the sound at the two ears. When there is a large difference in hearing between two ears (as might occur when a person with similar hearing in both ears only wears one hearing aid), the brain cannot make use of these subtle relative differences and their ability to locate sounds may suffer.
- Cushioning of sound - If you are only wearing one hearing aid, this device has to pick up sudden loud noises on its own. Binaural hearing aid wearers are required to have the volume set lower than those who only wear one device, which allows for a higher tolerance of loud sounds.
- Satisfaction - Hearing aids may take a few days or weeks to get used to, but individuals will often have higher satisfaction ratings if they use two hearing aids instead of one.
At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we offer reasonable priced hearing aids for customers like you. Visit our Online Hearing Check, or call one of our friendly representatives at 1 (800) 804-0434, to get a general sense of your hearing loss. Once you've determined that, you can order the hearing aids that will work best for you.
If you have any further questions, contact us now.
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