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

It’s unusual for people to get the same degree of hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. One ear is normally a little bit worse than the other, sparking many to raise the question: Can I simply use one hearing aid in the ear that’s worse.

One hearing aid, in most situations, will not be preferable to two. But one hearing aid might be an acceptable choice in some less common scenarios.

There’s a Reason Why You Have A Pair of Ears

Your ears effectively work as a pair whether you’re aware of it or not. That means wearing two hearing aids has specific benefits over using one.

  • Being Able to Localize Properly: Your brain is always doing work, not just to understand sounds but to place them in order to determine where they’re coming from. In order to correctly triangulate where sound is coming from, your brain requires input from both ears. When you can only hear well out of one ear, it’s a lot harder to determine where a sound is coming from (which might be crucial if you happen to live near a busy street, for instance).
  • Make The Health of Your Ears Better: An unused sense will atrophy in the same way as an unused muscle will. If your ears go for long periods without input signals, your hearing can begin to go downhill. Wearing hearing aids in both ears guarantees that the organs linked to hearing receive the input necessary to preserve your hearing. Wearing two hearing aids will also help reduce tinnitus (if you have it) and increase your ability to discern sounds.
  • Modern Hearing Aids Work as a Set: Just as your ears work as a pair normally, newer hearing aid technology is made to work as a pair. The artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art features function well because the two pieces communicate with one another and, much like your brain, identify which sounds to focus on and amplify.
  • Tuning in on Conversations: If you use a hearing aid, the whole point is to assist you in hearing. One of the things you want to hear is other people and the conversation happening near you. Because your brain has more sound stimulation when wearing hearing aids, it is better capable of filtering out background noise letting it determine what sounds to concentrate on because they are closer.

Are There Circumstances Where One Hearing Aid Is Practical?

Wearing a pair of hearing aids is usually a better choice. But that begs the question: why would anyone use a hearing aid in just one ear?

Commonly we hear two distinct reasons:

  • Monetary concerns: Some people think that they can spend less money if they can use just one hearing aid. If you truly can’t afford to buy two, one is better than not getting one at all. Still, you should know that eventually untreated hearing loss has been proven to raise your overall healthcare costs. Even neglecting hearing loss for two years has been shown to increase your healthcare costs by 26 percent, and ignoring any hearing loss in one ear can increase your risks for things like falling. So so that you can learn if wearing one hearing aid is the right choice for you, speak with a hearing care specialist. We can also help you brainstorm ways to make hearing aids more budget friendly.
  • One Ear Still Has Perfect Hearing: If only one of your ears requires a hearing aid, then you might be best served by having a hearing aid in just one ear but it’s definitely something you should talk to your hearing professional about (having one better ear is not the same thing as having one perfect ear).

One Hearing Aid is Not as Beneficial as Two

Two hearing aids, however, are going to be better than one for your ears and hearing in the vast majority of circumstances. The benefits of having strong hearing in both of your ears are simply too many to dismiss. So, yes, in most cases, two hearing aids are a better choice than one (just like two ears are better than one). Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to have your hearing examined.