When it’s time to make a decision about hearing aids, you might wonder, "Do I really need two hearing aids or will one do?" Is there a point to spending the money on two hearing aids when your hearing loss only affects one ear? Let's look at why you might consider getting two hearing aids and when one really is enough.
Temporary Versus Permanent Hearing Loss
This is a critical distinction. Is your hearing loss temporary or permanent? The best person to ask is a qualified medical specialist after getting a full ear exam. If you find your hearing loss is due to any of the following situations, chances are it is temporary:
- A wax blockage that can be remedied in a clinical setting
- A side effect of prescription medications
- The common cold, an ear infection or other acute medical condition
- Exposure to a loud noise
Assuming your hearing loss is temporary, your doctor can find a solution that returns it to you. If you're hearing loss is permanent, though, then your next decision will be regarding hearing aids — but is that one hearing aid or two?
When Should I Consider Getting Two Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are expensive, and it can be tempting to choose to buy just one to save money. You'll want to consider getting two hearing aids when you have hearing loss in both ears for the following benefits:
- The clarity and alertness that having two functional ears gives you
- Research suggests that hearing adequately in both ears allows your brain to distinguish between relevant auditory input and irrelevant background noise
- Supports your ability to locate the origin of a sound in order to tune into the message
- Offers a sense of clarity through balancing incoming stimuli
- Reduces the likelihood of developing tinnitus
- Decreases the risk of auditory deprivation which refers to the tendency for the function of an ear to decline if left unaided
What Is Single-Sided Hearing Loss?
Single-sided, also known as unilateral, hearing loss is when you can hear perfectly fine in one ear and have difficulty in the other.
When Should I Consider Getting One Hearing Aid?
The three primary reasons to opt for one hearing aid is when you have single-sided hearing loss, you're completely and irreversibly deaf in one ear or you have age-induced cognitive delays. If you have hearing loss in only one ear, there is no need to have a hearing aid in your other ear. Likewise, if you are permanently deaf in one ear, there is no point in purchasing a second hearing aid. Neither of these situations would improve with the addition of a second hearing aid. For persons over the age of 85 with cognitive delays, wearing two hearing aids might cause the auditory stimuli to become overwhelming and confusing. They might also struggle to separate speech patterns from other speech or background noise. A fourth reason to choose only one hearing aid is if it's absolutely financially unfeasible to purchase two. It is highly advisable to exhaust all options before settling for just one hearing aid when you need two. Insurance may help, as well.
Choosing The Right Hearing Aid For You
You want what's best for your ears. You want to be able to continue to participate in all the activities you know and love. For more information on hearing health, check us out today!