In the same way that our vision may differ between our eyes, hearing loss may occur asymmetrically and the hearing discrepancy may range from mild to severe. Often, individuals with an uneven or unilateral hearing loss rely on their “good ear” rather than seeking treatment. If one ear is able to hear adequately, is it actually necessary to treat both ears? The short answer is yes. In order to achieve a balanced and complete listening experience, both ears need to be functioning optimally.
Many individuals with unbalanced hearing feel they are able to communicate well, as long as the conditions are favorable—low ambient noise, face-to-face interaction—however, an unbalanced hearing loss presents a number of barriers. Notably, the brain relies on information from both ears for sound localization, or the ability to determine the origin of sounds. Our capacity for sound localization plays an important role in interpreting our physical environment. When hearing in one or more ear is suboptimal, the individual may have difficulty with their balancing or sound detection.
Additionally, hearing aids actually work to stimulate the ears and preserve hearing. Studies have shown that when ears are deprived of stimulation at length, the areas of the brain responsible for interpreting speech may deteriorate. This condition, referred to as auditory deprivation, may result in a decline in speech comprehension. Once the atrophy has occurred, it can be challenging to treat. The use of hearing aids helps to preserve your auditory abilities and keep your speech processing systems stimulated.
While it is more expensive to purchase two hearing aids, the long-term costs of untreated hearing loss are often more severe than many realize. For this reason, hearing health experts recommend fitting both ears with a hearing device. By being proactive about your hearing health, you can preserve your hearing sensitivity, balance skills and speech comprehension proficiency. If you’d like to speak with an expert on hearing loss near Thousand Oaks, we welcome you to contact our team. Our highly trained staff of audiologists provides a comprehensive array of services related to evaluation, rehabilitation and prevention of hearing impairment. Call us today at 805.449.2380!