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Is It OK to Wear Just One Hearing Aid?

an older patient with hearing loss getting a hearing aid fitted

It's understandable that as you approach appointments to treat your hearing loss, or if you are at the stage where you are considering hearing aids, you may have a few questions about what is involved. One common question in terms of getting hearing aids is, whether it is OK to wear just one hearing aid? There may be several reasons why you might want to wear just one hearing aid, but there are a few reasons why this may not give you the overall hearing experience you are hoping to achieve. 

Why are you encouraged to wear two hearing aids?

It is always encouraged for you to wear two hearing aids, especially if you have hearing loss in both ears. In terms of sound waves, your hearing aids work with one another to help your brain correlate the sounds you are hearing. One hearing aid may not work as well as two of them working together. The best way to explain this is that you have two ears and one brain. In simple terms, this means that both your ears detect noise, but it is your brain that princesses the random noises you hear into a recognizable sound. It is much easier for your brain to decipher the sound if it is receiving signals from both ears. 

Your audiologist will be able to program each hearing aid separately, depending on the levels of hearing loss experienced in each ear. This will maximize the exact levels of amplification in each ear. This is because it is totally normal to find that each ear may have a different level of hearing loss that you experience. 

Is it possible to use just one hearing aid?

It makes more sense to wear two hearing aids instead of one. However, there are a few reasons where it might be possible to use one hearing aid. These include:

  • Experiencing hearing loss in only one ear where the other ear picks up sound frequencies normally. 
  • It might make sense to use only one hearing aid because of your working environment. 
  • Personal preference

Why should you really be using two hearing aids?

While it is a common question for an audiologist to get, the answer will always be that it is recommended for you to use two hearing aids. There are a number of different reasons for this.

Better sound localization

Sound localization is the ability for you to determine where a sound is coming from. Your brain will be tired to use the audio information that it receives from both sides. This helps to determine the precise location of the sound. Improved localization helps to piece the sounds together to understand what they are, and your brain can then possess the information together. This is especially important for things like sirens and alarms, especially when you are driving. 

Improved quality when it comes to background noise

When you find yourself in the position where there is background noise and speech, the brain compares the speech and the noise entering each ear and automatically filters out the background noise. Using just the one hearing aid may mean that this signal can be distorted and not enable you to experience hearing fully. 

Reduced tinnitus

Tinnitus, which you experience when there is ringing or buzzing in your ears, is often the biggest symptom of hearing loss. Many people who wear hearing aids experience relief from tinnitus. If tinnitus is present in both ears, only using one hearing aid will still mean that you will experience the tinnitus in the other. 

Less of an effort to listen

Addressing the hearing loss in both ears helps you to feel more balanced. By only using one hearing aid at any one time, you may find that the act of listening becomes more of an effort as you end up trying to decipher the sounds and noises you hear. 

Reduce auditory deprivation

It is essential to keep both your ears active. But by only wearing one hearing aid, you are effectively leaving the other dormant in its current state of hearing loss. If one or both of your ears are left without stimulation of sounds, then it can start to affect your understanding of speech and noises. Only using one hearing aid means that you are likely not stimulating the other ear as fully as possible, which means more issues in the future. 

It is important to understand why the use of two hearing aids is important and how you can help yourself when it comes to hearing loss. Getting in touch with an audiologist is the first step. To learn more about Clifton Springs Hearing Center, you can call this phone number: 315-496-4314.


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