Eight Reasons Why You Hear Better with Two Ears
Hearing with both ears, as nature intended, is called binaural hearing. It allows us to hear sounds accurately and more naturally. Hearing with two ears gives us a sense of balance and direction, especially in noisy situations.
Hearing does not happen in your ears, it happens in your brain. Your brain requires reliable information form you ears in order to decipher sound. Using just one hearing aid when hearing test results indicate that two are needed reduces your brain’s chances of hearing and understanding by 50%, as well as removes your ability to perceive depth and space. Here are 8 reasons to wear two hearing aids if indicated by your hearing test.
- BINAURAL SUMMATION: This is a fancy way of saying that a sound presented to both ears is judged to be louder than the same sound, at the same loudness, presented to one ear only. When your ears work together, lower volume settings mean less drain of the battery, less distortion and more comfortable listening as background noises are not amplified as much.
- STEREO LISTENING: Stereo listening gives depth perception. Anyone who has enjoyed music in stereo, compared to mono, knows the difference. Mono makes all sounds seem shallow, flat and unnatural. Your brain has the ability to hear in stereo but to do so requires that sounds be delivered to both ears.
- LOCALIZATION: Detecting sound direction saves embarrassment and saves lives. With one hearing aid you will not be able to tell where sounds are coming from and therefore will not be able to rely on your ears to tell where that car is coming from. Binaural listening gives the listener a sense of location and the ability to locate sounds not only horizontally but also vertically, 360 degrees in all directions.
- SOCIAL GRACES: Good manners take two ears. One-eared listeners may be considered rude because they tend to ignore the speaker on their unaided side. In business and social situations binaural hearing aids can be the best ally for being a good listener.
- AUDITORY INTELLIGENCE: The two halves of your brain work in harmony to give you an auditory image. Just as your brain converts the two images your two eyes see into a single picture, the same spatial perception happens with your two ears. It is the different signal each ear sends to your brain that makes this perception possible. Sound signals travel to the brain and some stimulate the same side and some cross over and stimulate the opposite side of your brain. Binaural hearing aids help the ears get the messages to both sides of the brain, thus increasing your auditory intelligence.
- HEARING IN NOISE: Two ears are better in noise. With one hearing aid all sounds in a restaurant tend to blend together, making it near impossible to distinguish speech from noise. With two hearing aids both sides of your brain will work together to try to suppress background noise while enhancing speech understanding.
- AUDITORY DEPRIVATION: Because of auditory deprivation, it is possible your hearing could get worse. Auditory deprivation refers to a person’s lack of adequate hearing stimulation. With auditory deprivation, the brain gradually loses some of its information processing ability. Several investigations have shown that people who wear only one hearing aid experience a reduction in their ability to understand speech in the ear that has not been stimulated with an aid. The ability of the auditory system to process speech declines due to a lack of stimulation.
- QUALITY OF LIFE: Quality of sound is better quality of life. As mentioned above, when hearing through two hearing aids sounds have fuller quality and a sense of balance. With two hearing aids volume levels of each can e set lower, minimizing the risk of distortion and auditory fatigue. Your ability to tell where sounds are coming from is improved and your ability to understand in noise is enhanced.
*A binaural hearing aid fitting may not be suitable for a small percentage of hearing aid wearers. Our audiologist will be able to advise you after a complete audiologic evaluation.