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Hearing Blog

Give Your Brain The Best Signal

February 16, 2023

Do you wear two hearing aids or just one?  We have two legs, two feet, two arms, two eyes and two ears.  If we break an arm, we realize how difficult it is to do little things like putting in our contacts.  If we pull a hamstring or twist an ankle, we move slower and more deliberately to diminish the pain.  If something blows in one of our eyes while driving the car, we must try and focus with just the one eye and watch for traffic differently, trying to ignore the pain and watering that is taking place.  Our field of vision is better with two eyes.  Our depth perception is much sharper with two eyes.  

Our hearing is also much sharper with both ears.  Each ear helps us to have a balanced full bodied sound experience.   Usually, when you get a hearing loss it is with both ears.  (Sometimes a loss in just one ear occurs but it is not the norm).   Hopefully, your whole life you have had the benefit of normal hearing on both sides of your head.  The sounds that went into each ear stimulated both sides of your brain. 

When someone gets a hearing loss all the natural attributes of the human auditory system diminish.  Not only are basic sounds softer to you, but they may also not be identifiable.  When correcting your hearing loss, it is important to correct both ears.   Whenever we try to heal or correct an ailment, we always hope to get ourselves “back to normal.”  To feel whole. 

The shape of our ears and placement on our head allows for 180-degree sensitivity.   By wearing a hearing aid in each ear, you get the best directionality of sound.  You can tell when a car is coming up from behind you on your right-hand side while riding a bike.   Sounds and auditory input that goes in the left ear gets processed by the right hemisphere and vice-versa...  It takes the entire brain to process all the letters and sounds of the alphabet.  For instance, the difference between ‘chew’ and “shoe” sounds are processed differently by the brain.   By providing the brain with all the consonants and vowels the brain has the best ability to separate speech from noise.   Hearing aids in each ear or Binaural hearing enables you to stimulate both ears while wearing only one hearing aid can allow the other aid to deteriorate further from lack of use.   This is called the Auditory Deprivation Effect.  Hearing with both ears does not take as much effort as with just one hearing aid. Hearing and listening are more relaxing because it does not require as much volume.  If you have tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) then the hearing aids help to stimulate and mask the head noise; however, if you only wear one aid then the ringing will continue in the other ear.   Our ears help to provide us with our balance.  Imagine walking and not being able to hear your left footstep on some gravel but your right one you can hear.  It puts your brain off balance.  You must look down to observe the difference... you may lose your balance.   You feel “off-balance.”

Wearing hearing aids on both sides is very important to understand people in group settings.  If you only wear a hearing aid on your right side but have people on both sides... when someone talks on your left side... the sound must jump over your head to get to the hearing aid.  At this point, you lose volume about 15-20 decibels... almost a 1/3 of the volume in which the person is speaking.   It’s mathematical.  If you increase the speech signal with a hearing aid to only one ear but you have a hearing loss on both sides.  When you get into a noisy environment you will have two noise signals (because you almost always hear noise better) to only one speech signal... thus the noise wins and you can’t understand.  You only have one life... wearing two hearing aids and stimulating your entire brain provides you the best chance of getting “back to normal” as possible.  If you haven’t had a hearing test, then it is time!!  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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