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Hearing loss may be difficult to accept and many people do not know where to begin. Our team of ENT physicians and audiologists at Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists of Wisconsin will work close with you to determine what your hearing needs are.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with hearing loss through better hearing. Our educated, experienced audiology staff is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of hearing care in a personalized, caring environment.


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Is It Okay to Wear Just One Hearing Aid?

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an older woman wearing a single hearing aid

Because one ear might have more hearing loss than the other, it is common for many audiologists to be asked whether a patient can benefit from one hearing aid instead of two. However, even when experiencing hearing loss, ears work efficiently as a pair. Because of the balancing act of our auditory system, two hearing aids have more advantages than wearing one. 

Any audiologist would recommend two hearing aids over one in any given situation. This recommendation primarily stems from the fact that we have one brain to process everything we hear from both ears. Even if you have more hearing loss in one ear, your audiologist will program the hearing aids to match the precise amplification necessary for each ear. 

The benefits of two hearing aids over one has been researched extensively, including one research study by Harvard. There was one study that suggested one hearing aid might benefit people with cognitive delays or dementia because, regardless of hearing loss in both ears, two hearing aids might be over-stimulating. 

While purchasing two devices may cause some financial concerns, your audiologist will work with you to find a solution that addresses your degree of hearing loss, as well as your aesthetic, lifestyle and personal preferences. In most instances two hearing aids provide a more natural listening experience for the individual, making it essential to follow your audiologist’s recommendations. 

Make sure to talk to your audiologist before you make any decision, below are five reasons why you should consider wearing both hearing aids instead of one.  

Improved sound localization 

Sound localization is a listener’s natural ability to identify the point of origin of a sound in direction or distance. For a hearing person, sound localization helps to locate a person who is talking in another room or to determine in which direction a siren is coming from on the road. Localization is essential for safety, allowing you to locate approaching traffic or other environmental sounds.  

Improved hearing in background noises

Our brains will naturally filter noises to determine which sound we should best focus on for attention. This prioritization technique is highly stimulating for your mind, and it is vital for everyday life. In a situation with both conversations and background noises, both ears work to filter out background noise and amplify the conversation noise through focus. 

With one hearing aid, your ears might struggle to determine speech noise versus background noise. Some hearing aids include features, only used in a pair, to reduce background noise automatically.  

Reduces tinnitus

Think of that ringing noise or muffled distortion in your ear after a night out at a loud concert or a nightclub. These symptoms are a sign of tinnitus, which is often associated with hearing loss due to noise-induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss. This condition can be a constant irritation for some people, or it can come and go. 

When treated with hearing aids, many patients often experience relief from their tinnitus. However, if using just one hearing aid, the other ear might continue to experience tinnitus. By wearing one hearing aid, only one ear is treated, but you could still have the perception of tinnitus in the ear without the hearing aid. 

Reduces listening effort

An important part of our auditory system is balance. Our inner ears are said to be responsible for our balance, and imbalanced hearing could lead to clumsiness, balancing issues, vertigo or falling. The use of one hearing aid requires more strain and listening effort to compensate for significantly better hearing one year. 

Strained listening effort occurs even if your other ear doesn’t feel like it needs a hearing aid. Your auditory system will keep trying to fill this gap between your good ear and your hearing aid ear.

Reduces auditory deprivation 

Auditory deprivation occurs when the brain, according to Arizona Hearing Specialists, gradually loses some of its ability to process information from the unaided ear due to continued lack of auditory stimulation. Auditory deprivation can happen when a person who needs hearing aids doesn’t get them in time, or when someone wears one hearing aid instead of two. 

Depriving one ear of the full spectrum of sound can have a detrimental effect on the auditory nerve pathways and the brains’ ability to decode sound. Wearing two hearing aids assures that each ear will detect the sounds and stimulus it needs to stay in peak performance. One study from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology found that study subjects wearing only one hearing aid experienced a decline in word recognition compared to the study subjects wearing dual hearing aids.

Call the specialists at the Hearing Aid Center at (920)-969-1768 to find out more information about the debate between one hearing aid and two. 


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