Why You Should Treat Bilateral Hearing Loss with Two Hearing Aids

Why You Should Treat Bilateral Hearing Loss with Two Hearing Aids

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Treatment

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

If you have hearing loss, there’s very little chance it will be equal in each ear. People frequently notice that one ear hears better than the other and refer to it as their “good ear.” The results of a hearing test may reveal that this form of hearing loss is “unilateral.” Unilateral hearing loss can manifest as a diminished capacity to hear from one ear or complete inability to hear. Many people with this form of hearing loss have trouble detecting the direction of the sound and distinguishing background noise from the conversation.

What is bilateral hearing loss?

A hearing loss that affects both ears is known as a bilateral hearing loss. Issues with the outer, middle, or inner ear may be responsible for bilateral hearing loss. Hearing loss in both ears is a symptom of bilateral hearing loss. Many factors can contribute to bilateral hearing loss. A bilateral hearing loss is often a sensorineural hearing loss – this type is caused by several factors. Age, noise exposure, inheritance, and certain drugs are the most common culprits. 

Conductive hearing loss occurs when their capacity to transmit sound into the inner ear is impaired by a physical blockage, such as earwax or fluids from an ear infection. Mixed hearing loss occurs when bilateral hearing loss is caused by a combination of conductive and sensorineural causes.

Why do you need two hearing aids

Hearing loss affects both ears to varying degrees in most cases. 

Patients with unilateral hearing loss frequently wonder, “Why can’t I just treat my bad ear only?” While those with more severe hearing loss in one ear may feel that treating the problem with that ear alone will solve the problem, the circumstances that caused the impairment usually affect both ears. In these relatively common conditions, fitting just one hearing aid usually fails to provide the wearer with a satisfactory sound experience.

Hearing with both ears not only makes use of our ears’ crucial ability to identify the sound, but it also makes speech more understandable in noisy surroundings and minimizes tiredness and confusion produced by challenging listening environments.

The benefits of bilateral hearing

Hearing with two ears and seeing with two eyes are incredibly similar. Binaural hearing permits us to hear noises all around us and to pinpoint the source of those sounds. This is critical for our safety and our ability to hear physical danger. 

Another advantage of binaural hearing is that it allows us to prioritize and understand speech even when there is noise around us. Two ears help us to block out extraneous noise and concentrate on the conversation at hand. In addition, two ears give us more volume than one ear alone.

Separate speech from noise

The right part of the brain processes sounds acquired by your left ear first and vice versa. External signals are organized by both parts of your brain into recognized words and sounds. 

The ability to comprehend speech and what’s known as selective listening, or the ability to pay attention to one sound over another, improves dramatically when both sides of the brain are used. It’s critical to focus more of your brainpower on the sound you wish to hear to overcome hearing loss due to background noise.

Hearing aids deal with hearing loss in both ears

Each ear of a hearing aid worked independently from the other in earlier generations of hearing aid technology. There was no collaboration or communication. While our ears tried to communicate with each other, our hearing aids did not. 

Ear-to-ear technology, also known as binaural imagery, is now available in the latest hearing aids. This enables the two hearing aids to cooperate in the same way that our two ears do naturally. This has resulted in significant advancements in the ability of modern hearing aids to prioritize sound, filter out background noise, raise awareness of sound direction, and replicate natural hearing. 

Have you noticed a difference in your hearing? Contact us to schedule a hearing test and get started on the path to better hearing.