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Do I Need One Hearing Aid or Two Hearing Aids?

If what goes in one ear goes out the other, is it necessary to have hearing aids in both ears?

When considering the major purchase of hearing aids, you might think you can skip out and only buy one, but what are the pros and cons?

If you’re reading this article, you probably want to understand whether you can get just one hearing aid, or if it’s better to have two. Of course, there’s no right answer here.

While you can buy one hearing aid alone, it’s important to consider your individual circumstances before deciding on whether you should buy a matching pair or a custom, solo hearing aid.

Benefits of Having Two Hearing Aids

Since the brain localizes sounds by listening from both sides, it is often helpful to wear hearing aids in both ears or to buy a full pair of hearing aids. When talking with people seated on either side of you, your brain has to take in sounds from both directions and decide which way to turn to listen.

With only one hearing aid, the volumes may be different in both ears and the brain may get confused about where the sound is coming from.

There may also be background sound competing with your conversation, and two hearing aids allow the brain to determine which sound to listen to. The brain constantly deals with competing sounds, so it is important to maintain the same levels on both sides.

Additionally, the hearing aid can not only amplify but also clarify the sounds. It’s like changing the bass levels on your stereo to better understand the lead singer’s lyrics. The proper volume levels in both ears help with comprehending the sounds, not just making them louder.

Hearing aids can also prevent further deterioration in the ear. By wearing hearing aids on both sides, further damage cannot be done.

Also, when one ear is able to hear better than the other, it tends to overcompensate and the hearing can become weaker on one side. Hearing aids in both ears allow for evenness across both ears.

Benefits of Buying Only One Hearing Aid

Cost is also a major factor in determining which hearing aid is right for you, so the idea of halving the price is tempting for many. However, this is not a decision to be made by you. After extensive testing, it is your doctor or audiologist who can give you the best options.

Audicus also provides a helpful quiz when it does come time to figure out the most bang for your buck. Many doctors will agree that one hearing aid is better than none, so this is always an option if you are limited in funds.

There are other scenarios where only one hearing aid is needed such as when your hearing is only deficient in one ear. Though you may feel off balance only wearing an aid in one ear, it may be unnecessary to wear two.

There are also instances when individuals experience delays with their hearing aids either mentally or electronically, so wearing only one aid is more beneficial. You will often see live musicians take out their earpieces so they can better hear their music in live time.

Their monitor should playback the music with the proper blends, but musicians wish to gain a more comprehensive experience of the sounds. Similarly, one hearing aid in and one ear without can allow an individual to feel as if they are really grasping what is going on around them.

No matter one or two, Audicus has hearing aids that work for everyone!

Sources: American Academy of Audiology

By: Diana Michel, Updated in 2022