If you notice a hearing loss in one or both ears (bilateral), you are very likely suitable to be fitted with hearing aids.
To start this process, you will need to visit an audiology specialist who can help determine whether you need one (monaural) or two (binaural) hearing devices – or if you even need them at all.
While perhaps intimidating at first, hearing aids allow a hearing impaired person to experience sounds they may not have heard – or heard properly – for a long time such as the sounds of birds, group conversations and music. Usually during your hearing aid trial, you will first be fitted with two hearing devices so you can experience binaural amplification – similar to the way you would trial a pair of glasses for a problem with your vision. Although you may later decide to purchase only one hearing aid, there are benefits to wearing two.
- Understanding speech better. Wearing two hearing devices over one, allows your brain to better ‘focus’ on the sounds you want to hear – such as a person speaking directly in front of you rather than the people behind you in a crowded environment. Research has actually shown that people who wear two hearing aids can understand speech and general conversation much better than those who only wear one aid.
- Better clarity in noisy situations. Wearing two hearing aids makes speech clearer in difficult listening situations – such as a crowded restaurant. Wearers of one hearing aid sometimes struggle in busy environments.
- Better localization of sound. Not only does better localization of sound help in social situations, for example, being able to focus on a person speaking directly to you, but also helps you determine important sounds such as the sirens of emergency vehicles as they approach from behind. Without this feature, you may not hear them before you see them – which may make it difficult to move out of the way in time. With binaural hearing, you will be better able to detect where sounds are coming from in most situations.
- Better sound quality. Stereos tend to have more than one speaker to allow the smoothest, sharpest, most natural sound quality; the same can be said for hearing aids. By wearing two devices, your hearing range increases to 360 degrees – one device only allows for a 180 degree range of hearing. Greater range allows for overall better balance and sound quality.
- Smoother tone quality. Wearing two hearing aids means you won’t have to have the volume up as high as you would if you wear only one. This means less distortion of sounds.
- Further hearing range. Like a person without hearing aids, a person who wears two will hear sounds from further away than a person who wears only one. A sound that may hardly be heard at 10 feet with one device may be heard up to 40 feet with two.
- Better sound identification. With only one hearing aid, some sounds and words may sound alike. With two hearing devices these sounds are easier to distinguish.
- Keeps both ears active. This may reduce further deterioration of your hearing. Research shows that when only one aid is worn, hearing in the unaided ear may begin to deteriorate. This is called the ‘auditory deprivation effect’. Wearing two hearing aids keeps both ears functioning properly.
- Hearing is less effort. Wearers of two aids often report that listening and participating in conversation is easier with two devices rather than one. This is due to the fact that they do not have to strain to hear with the unaided ear.
- Feeling off balance. Wearing two aids helps you feel balanced due to the ‘stereo effect’ –which is balanced reception of sound. Monaural wearers may feel off balance with sounds being heard stronger in one ear than the other.
- Greater comfort around loud noises. Due to the fact that a lower volume is required when wearing two hearing aids, loud noises are naturally also less amplified.
- Reduced feedback and whistling. A lower volume means the chance of experiencing feedback is reduced.
- Tinnitus Masking. Half of Tinnitus sufferers report a decrease in severity when wearing hearing aids. If only wearing one aid, they may still experience ringing in the unaided ear.
- Customer satisfaction. Research of over 5000 people who wear hearing aids in both ears, shows that they are generally happier with their hearing than those who wear only one.
Just as vision with two eyes is better than one, your hearing is also better when both ears are balanced – this is why at Falls of Sound we recommend trialing two hearing aids. During your appointment, our audiologist will allow you to sample the binaural hearing experience through the use of headphones, probe microphones and other technologies allowing you to decide which solution is right for you.
Call 07 3378 5999 or 07 5443 8993 to book your appointment or more information.