Are two ears better than one?
So often we take for granted the sounds around us: the chirp of a bird, the telephone ringing, a whispered secret, a child’s first words. It’s only when we can no longer hear the sounds of daily living that we realize how important our sense of hearing really is.
If you suspect that you, a family member or a friend has a hearing loss, ask these questions:
- Do you complain that people mumble or speak too softly?
- Do you often ask others to repeat what they’ve said?
- Do you play the TV or radio louder than others would prefer?
- Do you find that watching others as they speak makes it easier to understand what was said?
- Do you find it difficult to hear conversation in a large group?
- Do you hear others talking but misunderstand what was said?
- Do you often feel left out of a conversation or miss so much that you wish you had stayed home?
- Do you frequently hear ringing, buzzing or roaring sound in your ears?
- Do you hear better with one ear than the other?
After discussing your concerns with a physician and having a thorough hearing evaluation with an audiologist, you may be diagnosed with a monaural (one ear) or binaural (two ears) hearing loss. If not medically or surgically correctable, the audiologist and your physician may suggest hearing aid(s) to help improve your communication ability.
Hearing with both ears offers some real advantages as compared to hearing from only one ear. For example:
- Safety – With only one good ear, it is difficult to localize the direction of sounds, especially in when driving.
- Improved understanding – Binaural hearing makes it easier to for the brain to process speech and distinguish individual voices.
- Wider hearing range – Sounds are often enhanced and seem louder with the benefit of stereo listening.
- Facilitate listening – Listening with only one ear may be physically tiring and stressful.
- Hear with less power – Wearers of binaural hearing aids often require less volume in each ear as compared to monaural hearing aid wearers; therefore, giving a more natural sound quality to voices and music.
- Hearing "in stereo" – As nature intended, sounds are fuller and more comfortable when heard from both sides of the head.
- Better sound identification – Different noises which sound almost exactly alike with one ear maybe easier to distinguish with the benefit of two ears.
If you are not sure about your need for one or two hearing aids, consult your audiologist.