Hearing does not happen in your ears but in your brain. Your brain uses information from your ears to decipher sound, as well as provide space perception, depth perception and balance. Binaural hearing, or hearing with both ears, benefits your brain by providing it with a fuller set of stimulus data.
If you’re using one hearing aid when your hearing test indicates that you should be using two, the chances of your brain getting all the information it needs to hear and understand reduces by 50%. It also removes the ability to perceive space and depth.
Here are some of the benefits of binaural hearing and why you should invest in two hearing aids:
Less amplification power is required when two hearing aids are worn.
The reduced need for amplification means that loud sounds are more comfortable and listening is less stressful.
Anyone who has listened to music in stereo, as opposed to mono, knows that it’s necessary for depth perception. Mono makes all sounds seem flat and unnatural. Your hearing is the same: your brain can hear in stereo, but it requires that we use both ears. Things will sound more natural and will also be more easily understood.
Binaural hearing allows you to detect what direction a sound is coming from. Someone using only one ear to listen is often wondering, “Where is that sound coming from?” Binaural hearing, however, gives the listener a sense of location and the ability to locate sounds in all directions.
Just as your brain uses the images that each of your eyes see to create one cohesive picture, your two ears working together creates this spatial perception. The two halves of your brain work together to give you an auditory image. Binaural hearing aids help the ears get the messages to both sides of the brain.
In noisy environments with multiple people speaking at once, like at a restaurant, it becomes more difficult to understand the one person at the table with you. Voice discrimination when you’re competing with background noise is difficult even with two ears and becomes almost impossible with only one. Binaural hearing aids provide the greatest advantage to hearing in noise.
Those listening with one ear are often considered rude because they tend to ignore people speaking on their unaided side. In business and social settings, wearing two hearing aids is your best bet for being the best listener possible.