Hearing With Both Ears

From crossing the street with confidence to having conversations in noisy places, there are important advantages to hearing with both ears.

The Importance Of Hearing With Both Ears

Ears work as a team, and the brain needs both to process speech and locate sound direction. Hearing with both ears is known as binaural hearing. If you can only hear in one ear (unilateral hearing) it’s difficult to perform the tasks listed below.

Understand Speech in noise

If you can only hear in one ear it makes it more difficult to pick up on quiet speech in a noisy environment. Hearing with both ears also makes it easier for your brain to practice selective listening. This means you can focus on the conversations you want to hear.

Locate sound

  • Not being able to tell where sound is coming from may cause problems.
  • For children, it can be hard to understand the teacher in class or the coach on the sports field.
  • For adults, driving through traffic can be difficult. For both, crossing a busy road could prove dangerous.

Avoid The Head Shadow Effect

When you can only hear with one ear, sounds that come from your ‘bad side’ fall in the shadow of your head.

Sounds have to travel around your head so your ‘good ear’ can send them to the brain. As a result, sounds can be difficult to hear and understand clearly, especially in noise.

This is particularly true for higher-frequency sounds.

Enjoy music

People who have lost hearing in one ear say they enjoy music less and describe it as sounding unpleasant, indistinct or unnatural, compared to how it sounded with both ears.

Binaural Hearing And Speech Development In Children

Hearing with both ears helps children better understand speech and language. This is important for their learning and development.

What is Bimodal Hearing?

For many people, using a cochlear implant on one ear and a hearing aid on the other is the solution that provides them with their best hearing in both ears.

This combination is called bimodal hearing. For the right person, bimodal hearing can provide a better hearing experience than using two hearing aids or a cochlear implant on its own.

When compared to using a hearing aid or cochlear implant alone, users of bimodal hearing report:

• a more natural hearing experience

• improved speech understanding in quiet and noise

• improved perception of music

• better functioning in real-life environments

In a large study, users of bimodal hearing also reported much higher satisfaction with their hearing performance compared to when they previously used two hearing aids.


Bilateral Hearing: Two Hearing Implants

If you have a bimodal solution but still struggle to understand speech, bilateral hearing implants may improve speech comprehension, which may help you to communicate more effectively.

Children spend most of their waking hours in complex noisy environments. To improve speech understanding in noise, as well as localise where sounds are coming from, the brain needs input from both ears.

Providing both ears with early input ensures the auditory pathways are supported to maximise a child’s development.

Bilaterally implanted children reach hearing performance goals earlier than unilaterally implanted children.

Your audiologist can advise you on bimodal or bilateral hearing treatment options for you or your loved one.

Check the Latest Update of Meenakshi Speech Hearing Aid Center on Instagram

Types of Hearing Aids

Behind The Ear (BTE)

BTE hearing aids hook over the top of your ear and rest behind the ear. The hearing aid picks up sound, amplifies it and carries the amplified sound to an ear mould that fits inside your ear canal. This type of aid is appropriate for almost all types of hearing loss and for people of all ages.

A BTE hearing aid.

• Is the largest, most visible type of hearing aid, though some new versions are smaller, streamlined and barely visible .
• Is capable of more amplification than are other hearing aid styles

Open fit/ RIC Open fit/ RIC

These are very small BTE-style devices. Sound travels from the instrument through a small tube or wire to a tiny dome or speaker in the ear canal. These aids leave the ear canal open, so they are best for mild to moderate high-frequency losses where low-frequency hearing is still normal or near normal.

An open-fit hearing aid

• Is less visible
• Doesn’t plug the ear as the small in-the-canal hearing aids do
• Uses very small batteries
• Lacks manual adjustments due to the small size

In the ear (ITE)

These Custom Hearing aids rest inside the Ear. They are designed using a custom mould to fit your shape and come with a twin microphone design that improves their general sound quality and amplification.
An ITE hearing aid
• Having two microphones means that they produce better sound quality. This Hearing aid works with moderate to Severe Hearing Loss.
• It’s Visible from the outside as the size is bigger as compared to CIC or ITC.

In the canal (ITC)

These are custom moulded and fit partly in the ear canal, but not as deeply as the CIC. This hearing aid can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

An ITC hearing aid

• Is less visible in the ear.

• Is easy to use with the telephone

Completely in canal (CIC)

These are moulded to fit inside your ear canal and can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

A CIC hearing aid

• Is the least noticeable in the ear

• Is less likely to pick up wind noise because the ear protects the instrument.

• Is easy to use with the telephone.

Invisible In Canal (IIC)

IIC is pretty similar to the Completely-In-the-Canal but it is hidden deeper in the ear. It got a few downsides as you can read below. The invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids are located much deeper in the canal and they are practically invisible even if you look directly into the ear. You got this tiny nylon thread so you can pull it out.

An IIC hearing aid
• Is custom made to ensure a perfect fit

• Is a tight fit means users can better determine where sounds are coming from

• has no joined parts mean there are no hard edges