Are you trying to decide if you need a hearing aid in both ears? Most people that experience hearing loss have hearing loss in both ears. The loss may be more prominent in one ear and the individual may not even realize there’s a loss in the other ear. You would never think of wearing eyeglasses with only one lens even though one eye may have better vision than the other. Just like with your eyes, both ears need hearing aids to produce the best result.
“Nice delivery, John, but I asked you to ‘say grace’ not to ‘spray mace!’” We’ve all heard (and maybe experienced first-hand) the jokes about miscommunication in hearing impaired people, but it can lead to some frustrating moments for many of us. When you use only one hearing aid, your brain is processing normal speech through one ear and amplified speech from the other ear. This can be confusing for the brain to process. Some people may need to focus a little harder on the conversation to make sense of what is being said, especially when they already have word discrimination issues which is the inability to hear words in the right way.
Many people think wearing a hearing aid device in their worse ear will help them hear better when, in most cases, the opposite is actually true. Switching the hearing aid to the better ear improves results because word discrimination is better in that ear. When using a hearing aid in both ears the brain is processing the same amplified sound in both ears making it easier for the brain to process conversation more quickly and more clearly. Someone with word discrimination issues will still have a hard time understanding certain words, but it will be much less of a struggle.
In addition to improving word discrimination issues, some benefits of wearing a hearing aid in both ears include:
- Improvement with Background Noise—Sound heard by the brain through a hearing aid is different than the natural sound you are used to. Wearing a hearing aid in both ears makes it easier to differentiate the conversation in front of you from other background noise.
- Improved Localization—The ability to localize sounds provides a more natural and comfortable listening experience. It is also important for safety reasons such as to avoid oncoming traffic, an approaching cyclist on a running path, or a falling object. When using an amplifier in both ears the brain has an easier time focusing on where the conversation is coming from.
- Improved Clarity—Difficulty understanding talkers with soft voices, hearing speech at a distance, and conversing over the telephone are some of the challenges faced with hearing loss. Studies have shown a 10% increase in speech perception when using a hearing aid in both ears.
Are you trying to decide whether to buy a hearing aid but are putting it off because of cost or embarrassment? Don’t wait too long. Those parts of the brain associated with hearing become less active when they are not used. You need to hear sounds to keep this brain circuitry working and actively processing speech. You can compare our devices here.
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