At Preferred Hearing Centers, we often work with people who are deciding how to manage their hearing loss. One question that comes up frequently is whether they can effectively treat their hearing issue with just a single hearing aid. While a single hearing aid can offer some support for hearing problems, we think the benefits of wearing a set of hearing aids has much bigger advantages.
Treating your hearing loss is an investment in your quality of life, so if you are considering using a single hearing aid instead of a pair, be sure you know what you may miss. Hearing aid users are more satisfied when using a pair of hearing aids to treat hearing loss than a single hearing aid alone.
Hearing loss is a condition that isn’t limited to your ears. As hearing loss develops, it changes neural pathways in your brain, fundamentally changing the way that your mind hears and interprets sounds. When your hearing can no longer detect certain sounds or frequencies, established pathways in the auditory nerve fall into disuse. Your brain also has to create new ways of piecing together incomplete sounds. This causes the original patterns of the auditory system to atrophy as new patterns are forged to cope with hearing loss.
The longer hearing loss has been left untreated, and the more profound the hearing impairment, the further it has adapted away from your “natural” hearing. Although most hearing loss is permanent, the good news is that it can be treated with hearing aids. Even though hearing aids won’t sound like your “natural” hearing, especially at first, they can greatly restore your comprehension of speech and sound. Your hearing aids help fill in the missing sounds the auditory system has had to adapt to.
Using two hearing aids gives your hearing the support it needs to restore better hearing patterns. With added input from both ears, a fuller sound range is delivered to the auditory cortex of the brain. With practice, hearing aids can help adapt brain patterns back to healthier, less stressful pathways, helping to restore your hearing range. When only one hearing aid is used, the support hearing aids can offer your hearing is only partial. While sound may come in amplified from your ear outfitted with a hearing aid, the hearing loss of the other ear can still affect your neural processing.
A huge advantage of working with two hearing aids is that a pair of hearing aids can help restore your ability to locate sound. Having a dimensional perception of sound depends heavily on having auditory input from both ears. Just like vision, where the slightly different viewpoint of each eye is integrated into our visual depth perception, our brain calibrates the different ways each ear detects sound waves and uses that information to triangulate the source and direction of a noise. Without two ears working to source sounds, our ability to locate sounds in our environment is greatly diminished.
We need our dimensional hearing to help prioritize and focus on conversations we are part of, and to stay out of the path of injury. While using a single hearing aid can help us hear speech when it is delivered directly into the “hearing” ear, two hearing aids can do deeper restoration of hearing, helping you engage in speech no matter what direction it comes from and better follow conversations, especially between multiple people. Being able to spatially locate noises can also keep you out of harm’s way, especially when you are trying to navigate busy and unfamiliar places.
Even when hearing loss is present in only a single ear, the solution often involves both ears. CROS systems locate small hearing devices in both ears to deliver the sound from a “non-hearing ear” to the hearing ear in a way that replicates the spatial sense of sound.
Preferred Hearing Centers
Like the song says, it takes two to make a thing go right. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you back, but how you choose to manage your hearing loss can make all the difference. Treating your hearing loss at Preferred Hearing Centers can help you make that difference. Our focused customer care means that connecting with reliable hearing solutions are within your reach. Set up an appointment today!