Closeup of Eargo 5 hearing aids
HEARING AIDS

DO I NEED TO WEAR ONE OR TWO HEARING AIDS?

BY AMBER JOYE ROSEN, AU.D. F-AAA - FEBRUARY 3, 2022

 

 

It’s a question we get a lot: Do I really need to wear 2 hearing aids? In short, yes, if you have an aidable hearing loss in each ear, both ears need access to sounds they are missing.

Here are a few important things to consider:

  1. Think of the ears a bit like a muscle. The pathways from your ears to your brain both need to be worked out.
  2. Wearing two hearing aids helps you identify where sounds are coming from—the fancy word for this is “localization.” The brain uses timing and loudness cues based on the information it gets from both ears to know where a sound is coming from.
  3. The information the brain gets from both ears goes to both sides of the brain. Both parts of our brain share that information to help us pick up speech sounds through noise.

You can read more about these considerations in this report by Hearing Health titled Understanding auditory deprivation: Why untreated hearing loss is bad for your brain. There are also many studies that have identified that having two is better than one when listening to “demanding and dynamic context.” Here is a good one from Nobel and Gatehouse, 2005 titled Effects of bilateral versus unilateral hearing aid fitting on abilities measured by the Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing scale (SSQ).

Most people have what we call “symmetrical” hearing loss. This means both of your ears have the same amount of hearing loss. Both ears are the same age, they have the same genetics, and they’ve been exposed to the same general sounds and medications. It is a good thing when your ears both have identical hearing loss!

If you suspect your hearing loss is different between ears, it is in your best interest to consult promptly with a licensed physician (preferably an ear specialist). The goal is to hear balanced between both ears.

For the most part, there are only two reasons just one hearing aid is appropriate:

  1. The other ear has normal hearing in the frequencies where we hear speech sounds.
  2. The other ear is unaidable. Examples of unaidable, include, but are not limited to: Single Sided Deafness (SSD), profound sensorineural hearing loss, very poor word recognition, and/or marked intolerance for amplified sounds.

If you’d like to learn more about SSD and consequences of hearing with one ear, Snapp and Ausili publication from 2020, titled Hearing with One Ear: Consequences and Treatments for Profound Unilateral Hearing Loss is a good read. Both of these (having normal hearing or an unaidable ear) can be determined with a hearing test performed by your local licensed hearing professional.

Eargos in palm of hand

In the event one hearing aid is all you need, don’t count us out yet!

Yes, we do only sell them as a pair, however, the cost of our system (2 Eargo hearing aids and a charger) is still less than the average cost of one hearing aid from most local hearing aid clinics.

Eargo right and left hearing aids are the same size and shape, so they can be worn in either ear. If you only need one we recommend wearing the one device for a week (recharging it each night) while keeping the other safe in the charger, and the next week switch and use the other. Plus, you’ll always have a backup device waiting in the wing if you need it.

Eargo does not offer a CROS or BiCROS hearing aid.

These devices use a microphone on the poorer ear to wirelessly transmit the signal to a device in the better ear. Our devices are too small to hold all the wireless electronics needed to accomplish this.

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If you still have some questions and would like to speak with someone from our team, please give our Personal Hearing Guides a call at 1 (800) 903-6883 to see if Eargo is right for you! If you’re ready to order, call us or order online on our online store.