You probably know one of the best ways to keep our body healthy and in good working order is to use it – that means getting regular exercise, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and getting your steps in for the day. Conversely, when we don’t move and use our muscles, they tend to weaken and can even atrophy over time.
Even though your ears aren’t muscles, depriving them of sound can make the auditory nerve pathways and the associated centers in the brain less effective at decoding the sound around you. Understanding speech, particularly in the presence of noise gets more difficult even when the sound is loud enough for you to hear it. Hearing healthcare professionals call this auditory deprivation.
Wearing two hearing aids means each ear gets the stimulus it needs to stay at peak performance. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology looked at the word recognition abilities of people fitted with one hearing aid versus two. The researchers found that a significantly higher number of the study subjects wearing only one hearing aid experienced a decline in their word recognition compared to those who were binaurally fit.