The Case for Binaural Hearing
Hearing doesn’t happen in your ears. It happens in your brain. Using one hearing aid when two are needed reduces the brain’s chance of hearing and understanding by 50%. Consider five important binaural advantages:
1. Less power: Lower volume is required to achieve a comfortable setting. When both ears work together there is a greater efficiency and clarity.
2. Natural sounds: Your brain hears in stereo but needs sounds delivered to both ears. Sounds from one side only sound flat, shallow and unnatural. Balanced sound makes for pleasurable listening and easier understanding.
3. Direction: Differences in sound arriving at each ear allow us to tell which direction the sound is coming from. Hearing accurately the direction of sounds is related to safety issues when you are driving or walking along a busy road. Hearing sounds 360 degrees in all directions is more convenient socially because you expect to hear those on both sides.
4. Discrimination: Understanding in challenging environments is virtually impossible with one ear! The one-eared user complains of sound blending together. The binaural user can hear high frequency sounds needed to bring clarity to speech (Hearing in noise is the most common complaint of people who wear one hearing aid).
5. Auditory intelligence: We are “hard-wired” to hear with two ears. The two halves of your brain work to complete an auditory image. If the two hemispheres don’t share signals, auditory intelligence is reduced. Spatial cues, which contribute to accurate hearing, are missing.