Senior woman sitting at a table smiling

Bilateral Hearing Aids: Are Two Hearing Aids Necessary?

July 4, 2022

Most people with hearing loss experience loss in both ears. However, the level of hearing loss may differ slightly between each ear, leading some to wonder whether or not they need only one hearing aid rather than two.

Let’s take a look at whether or not bilateral hearing aids—or using hearing aids in both ears—is really necessary in these situations.

Are Bilateral Hearing Aids Necessary?

While each situation may be different, it is generally recommended that those with hearing loss get bilateral hearing aids. Even if hearing loss is slightly more pronounced in one ear over the other, there are a variety of reasons why using two hearing aids is highly beneficial as opposed to only treating one ear.

Having slightly different levels of hearing loss in each ear is common. Hearing aids can be specifically programmed to address the hearing needs of each ear, meaning each ear will get the level of amplification best suited for the degree of hearing loss present.

Why Bilateral Hearing Aids are Recommended

There are a variety of reasons why, even in the presence of different degrees of hearing loss, bilateral hearing aids are recommended for those with hearing loss.

Better for the Brain

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind with hearing loss, but the brain plays a major role in the sounds that our ears pick up. As the ears detect sounds, the brain processes them—and it’s easier for the brain to do this when the sound is balanced.

When sound is not being received equally by both ears—specifically by each auditory nerve—these nerve pathways can weaken over time. In turn, the brain’s ability to decode the sounds received becomes weaker, making it even more difficult to hear. This is known as auditory deprivation.

Directionality

Keeping both ears functioning properly is also essential for directionality, or being able to tell where sounds are coming from. Not only is loss of sound localization frustrating, it can also have safety implications—for example, hearing a vehicle that is out of the line of sight.

Using bilateral hearing aids means that, with both ears detecting sounds at equal levels, directionality of sound is maintained.

Improves Speech Recognition

Hearing loss often makes conversations challenging, being that speech becomes unclear or distorted, especially in environments with high levels of background noise. One of the most important benefits of hearing aids is that they help with speech recognition and make it easier to hold conversations.

When only one hearing aid is used, issues with speech recognition may persist being that the sound is amplified for only one ear. Using two hearing aids can greatly improve the clarity of speech, making it easier to converse, even in areas where background noise is present.

Lower Amplification Levels

As mentioned earlier, hearing aids can be programmed by an audiologist or other hearing professional to match the best amplification levels for each ear. With each hearing aid properly tuned, the user won’t have to turn the volume up as high. This is due to the ears perceiving higher sound levels when both ears receive the sound—known as binaural summation. 

In this case, volume levels on the devices can be kept lower, meaning less time adjusting the settings and improved battery life.

Get the Full Benefits of Hearing Aids

With everything covered above, it’s easy to see: using bilateral hearing aids will lead to a better experience than using just one device. Getting treatment for hearing loss is an important step in maintaining high quality of life, and using two hearing aids allows users to enjoy the full benefits of hearing aids.

Lexie’s Hearing Aid Options

Hearing aids can have a huge impact on the lives of those with hearing loss—one that extends beyond simply making it easier to hear. This is especially true when bilateral hearing aids are used when recommended by a hearing professional.

The Lexie Hearing offers affordable hearing aid options that feature advanced hearing technology and can be purchased directly online. These hearing aids feature clearer sound quality, noise reduction, and directional microphones—and comes backed by a risk-free, money-back guarantee.

When it comes to hearing loss, it’s never been easier to get the treatment needed. For more information on how Lexie Hearing can help, contact our team today, or shop online to see what Lexie hearing aids have to offer.

Image of post writer Marcellé Swanepoel.

Written by Marcellé Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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