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

For most people both ears rarely have exactly the same amount of hearing loss. Because one ear normally has worse hearing loss than the other, it sparks the question: Do I actually need a pair of hearing aids, or can I simply treat the ear with more significant hearing loss?

In most instances, two hearing aids are will be better than just one. But one hearing aid may be an acceptable choice in certain less common scenarios.

There’s a Reason Why You Have Two Ears

Whether you know it or not, your ears efficiently function as a pair. That means wearing two hearing aids has certain benefits over wearing one.

  • The Ability to Correctly Localize: Your brain is always doing work, not only to interpret sounds but to place them so that you can figure out where they’re coming from. This is a lot easier when your brain can triangulate, and to do that, it needs solid signals from both ears. It is a lot harder to determine where sounds are coming from when you’re only able to hear well out of one ear (Which could come in handy, for instance, if you live next to a busy street).
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: In the same way as your ears work together naturally, newer hearing aid technology is made to function as a pair. The artificial intelligence and advanced features function well because the two hearing aids communicate with each other and, similar to your brain, identify which sounds to amplify and focus on.
  • Focusing on Conversations: The whole point of wearing a hearing aid is to help your hearing. One of the things you want to hear is other people and the conversation going on near you. Wearing two hearing aids permits your brain to better filter out background noises. Because your mind has more available data your brain can figure out what is closer and therefore more likely to be something you want to focus on.
  • Make The Health of Your Ears Better: Just as unused muscles can atrophy, so can an unused sense. Your hearing can begin to go downhill if your ears don’t receive regular sound input. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs associated with hearing receive the input they need to preserve your hearing. If you have tinnitus, wearing two hearing aids can minimize it and also improve your ability to discern sounds.

Does One Hearing Aid Make Sense in Some Circumstances?

Wearing a pair of hearing aids is the better choice in most cases. But that begs the question: why would anyone wear a hearing aid in only one ear?

Often we hear two different reasons:

  • You still Hear Perfectly out of one ear: If just one of your ears needs a hearing aid, then you might be best served by having 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).
  • Monetary concerns: Some people feel that they can save money if they can wear just one hearing aid. If you really can’t afford to buy two, one is better than not getting one at all. It’s significant to know, however, it has been proven that your overall health costs will increase if you have untreated hearing loss. Even neglecting 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 elevate your risks for things like falling. So in order to discover if wearing one hearing aid is right for you, speak with a hearing care specialist. We can also help you brainstorm ways to make hearing aids more affordable.

One Hearing Aid is Not as Beneficial as Two

In the vast majority of cases, however, two hearing aids will be better for your ears and your hearing than only one. The benefits of having strong hearing in both of your ears are simply too plentiful to ignore. In most instances, just like having two ears is better than having one, having two hearing aids is definitely preferable to having only one. Make an appointment with a hearing care pro to have your hearing examined.