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If you and your audiologist have concluded that it’s time to get hearing aids, you may be struggling with the realization. It can be tough to admit that you need help and then accept that help, and it can be difficult to adjust to hearing aids. You may be hoping you can just go with one hearing aid instead of two.

Hearing loss is often age-related. When hearing loss is age-related, it is typically in both ears. If this is the case, you will need two hearing aids. The ears may not have the same level of hearing loss, but they will still both require the assistance of hearing aids. When hearing is normal in one ear but poor in the other, you’ll need only one hearing aid.

You may feel intimidated if you require two hearing aids, but two is better than one when it comes to hearing aids. When you can hear normally, you are able to interpret sounds and signals from both ears. You’re able to pick out voices from background noise and carry on a conversation in a loud, public place. Your brain is processing sounds from both ears, called binaural hearing. With just one ear that can hear normally, or in this case one hearing aid, you will not experience the same effect. Voices speaking to you in a noisy room may be too quiet for your brain to classify as important and you may ignore the voice altogether. Your brain may also struggle to comprehend which direction the sound is coming from. This is because, when hearing is the same on both sides, the brain is able to take the signals, compare their frequencies and loudness, and effectively decipher them. The same thing happens when two hearing aids work together, rather than if you were to simply rely on one.

In addition to improved hearing and better deciphering of signals, another huge benefit to wearing two hearing aids is that you will be able to turn the sound down lower. Some individuals experience feedback with their hearing aids, and lowered volume means you will experience this less.

If you’re unsure if you want to use two hearing aids, talk to your audiologist. You may be able to try out two hearing aids for a test period before deciding if you hear better with two hearing aids or you’d just like to use one.