Thousands of people have hearing loss in their senior years. This common issue is easily solved with the assistance of hearing aids. Trends of the past leaned toward a single hearing aid for most individuals. Recent studies suggest, however, that wearing two hearing aids regardless of the level of decline is better than a single device. Explore the science behind this finding because it can help you in more ways than just clearer hearing.
Two Ears and Evolution
Before you can understand why two hearing aids are better than one, it’s important to grasp why humans have two ears in the first place. Scientists have studied this basic trait, and they’ve noted that two ears aren’t just for hearing ambient sounds. They also sense the direction of these sounds.
For evolutionary purposes, humans need to know where a sound is coming from so that dangerous situations can be avoided. Self-preservation is critical to survival. With this fact in mind, being able to hear with two hearing aids makes evolutionary sense.
Exercising Your “Hearing Muscles”
The old saying of “use it or lose it” can also apply to hearing. If you use only one hearing aid, the other ear isn’t stimulated at the same level. Neural pathways will slowly diminish, which is similar to muscle decline in a person who doesn’t exercise.
By wearing two hearing aids, you can “exercise” these neural pathways so that they can strengthen over time. Physiological decline is closely related to cognitive issues in the near future.
Fighting the Clarity Issue
There’s also a concern about clarity. Regardless of the hearing capabilities in each ear, using just one hearing aid won’t clear up the conversations around you. Speech may still be muffled or too difficult to understand with one hearing aid.
Wearing two hearing aids allows you to hear conversations around you at any angle. There’s no need to have someone speak into your “good” ear. The clarity will sound like normal hearing after you get used to the devices.
Controlling the Volume
Turning up the volume on one hearing aid means that you’re using up battery power and requiring a much larger device on your ear. Wearing two hearing aids means that the sound can be shared between both ears. The volume can remain low, which reduces strain on the device and battery.
High volumes also damage the ear even further. Keeping the sound intensity down is beneficial for those sensitive auditory cells.
Reducing Cognitive Decline
Recent studies suggest that improved hearing can fight off concentration loss, cognitive decline and dementia. When you can’t hear very well, the brain’s memory processes diminish. There’s still plenty of research to be done in this area, but the findings are concrete so far.
By opting for two hearing aids, the brain can function as it did with younger ears. Mental decline might occur for other reasons, but treating hearing loss can help with a lower risk in this neural capacity.
Competing for Resources
Don’t give your brain a reason to reallocate resources. The brain may seem like a benign organ, but it’s actually a changing mass of neurons. If your hearing declines without proper treatment, the neurons attributed to that sense will be altered for other uses. The brain literally reorganizes the neurons so that other senses might be heightened, such as vision or touch.
You want to keep your neurons dedicated to sound, and using two hearing aids can help in this scenario.
Opting for Two Hearing Aids
Seek out treatment for your hearing loss right now. It only takes one appointment to start the process. Most people have varying levels of hearing loss in each ear. Your hearing professional can evaluate these levels and refine an aid’s adjustments to fit your needs.