Many years ago it was com- mon for people to be fit with one hearing aid even if they had loss in both ears. Then in the 1980’s a study came out of the Veteran’s Administration showing the unaided ear loses its ability to discriminate speech likely due to auditory deprivation. Today two hear- ing aids (also called “binaural”) is the standard of care.
In addition to avoiding audi- tory deprivation, there are other strong reasons for wear- ing aids on both ears. Better understanding of speech both in quiet and in background noise is possible when wearing two aids instead of one. Our brain is wired to hear from both sides and can do so most effectively with two aids. Also, in order to truly localize where a sound is coming from we must hear equally on each
side. Finally, with two hearing aids one can get better, smoother sound quality. When wearing only one aid, often that aid has to be turned up quite a bit in volume for you to hear. When you add a second aid each can be set at a more moderate volume allowing for better sound quality and less feedback.
But don’t take my word for it. This is taken directly from a happy patient’s testimonial: “It’s been about six months ago that you fitted me with my second Phonak hearing aid…. I wanted to tell you how it has improved the quality of my life. Now with, prac- tically invisible hearing aids in both ears, it’s like going from black-and-white television to liv- ing color!”
Not everyone can or should wear two aids but most people should. If you aren’t wearing two aids, ask your audiologist if you should be.