Is it necessary to wear two hearing aids? The short answer is that if you have hearing loss in both ears, YES.
Human hearing is designed to use two ears to process sound—this is called binaural hearing. This is how we ‘localize’ sounds, which simply means how we figure out exactly where sounds are coming from. Our brains process the information it receives from both ears to tell us if the sound came from our right or left side, in front of us or behind us, and how far away it is.
With normal hearing, the brain hears sounds equally and separates speech from noise. This input is needed from both ears. Wearing just one hearing aid directs all speech and noise to one ear and that makes it harder for the brain to separate speech. The result is unnatural hearing which can cause you to stop wearing the hearing aid altogether. Put simply, one hearing aid cannot do the job of two ears.
Two hearing aids will also significantly improve your understanding of conversational speech, especially in the presence of background noise. This is important because the main reason that most people pursue hearing aids is to participate in conversations with friends and family in a social setting. Social settings tend to have a lot of background noise (parties, restaurants, family dinners, etc.), and mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss can make it extremely difficult to pick out voices in these situations. So, if you have hearing loss in both ears, you want to give both ears their best chance to pick up these sounds and send them to your brain so that you can isolate voices and hear better.
Wearing only one hearing aid when two are needed can lead to auditory deprivation in the unaided ear resulting in a greater inability to process speech clearly. Research also shows that untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression.1
One major advantage of wearing two hearing aids is that you can adjust each ear to a lower volume. Wearing just one usually requires turning the volume up to an unnatural level.
As mentioned before, wearing two hearing aids enhances the brain’s ability to identify environmental cues, allowing for a safer and independent lifestyle. The localization of sound is important when listening for the direction of cars while walking and driving, as an example.
It is important to note that many people think that one ear hears better than another. However, just because you think this is true, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hearing loss in the ‘better’ ear. It’s always a good idea to have a hearing evaluation performed to determine the extent of your hearing loss in both ears.
Eargos come as a pair, labeled for your left and right ears, but if you only need one hearing aid there’s good news! Eargos are typically about half the cost of traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, which means that you can have a spare on hand.
While they typically last up to 16 hours on a single charge, you may forget to charge them at some point. If you do, you’ll have the extra one ready to go—and our portable charging case means that you can easily carry it with you, too.
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.