The Meaning and Importance of Binaural Hearing
Individuals often experience different levels of hearing loss in each ear. And patients in this situation frequently ask us, “Can’t I just treat my worse ear for hearing loss? Won’t that be improvement enough?”
While we at Colonna Hearing Services sometimes see patients with hearing loss in only one ear (also known as unilateral hearing loss), typically the factors that led to the impairment have affected both ears — just to a different degree. In this relatively common situation, we find that fitting just one hearing aid usually fails to provide a satisfying sound experience for the wearer.
Hearing well with both ears not only takes advantage of our ears’ critical ability to identify the location of sound (a surprisingly important component of our ability to listen and to focus on sound effectively), it also helps make speech easier to understand in the presence of noise and helps reduce the fatigue and confusion brought on by difficult listening environments.