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Blog in Your Ear

The Advantages of Two Ears

Although not perfectly symmetrical, our bodies are designed to function with paired structures. There is a reason why we have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two arms, two hands, two legs, and two feet. These structures perform many critical tasks, including gathering sensory information for the two sides of the brain to process. The more detailed the sensory information, the more accurately the brain can assess the information and respond.

Our sense of hearing works continuously and has the functional purpose of allowing sound to travel through the ears and auditory structures to the brain where sound is interpreted and meaning is applied. Being able to receive sound input from both ears provides the brain many advantages, including:

  1. Speech understanding
    • Language cues from both ears enable the brain to process speech
  2. Speech clarity
    • Distinctions between sound frequencies (low and high pitch sounds) heard through both ears provide sound information to the brain that makes speech intelligible
  3. Sound localization
    • The brain can perceive the slight delay of sounds as they enter one ear and then the other to detect where sounds are coming from
  4. Sound identification
    • Deciding on what sounds to focus on and what sounds to ignore is easier when the brain has input of environmental sounds from both ears
  5. Hearing in noisy environments
    • The brain can better filter out background noise and focus on conversation when cues come from both ears
  6. Sound reproduction
    • Sound has a natural quality when heard through both ears
  7. Balanced hearing
    • The brain receives 360 degrees of sound information when cues come from both ears
  8. Wider hearing range
    • The brain can interpret a larger range between soft and loud sounds when information comes from both ears as opposed to one ear
  9. Better tolerance of loud sounds
    • The intensity of loud sounds is easier to tolerate when divided between two ears
  10. Less listening fatigue
    • Less effort is required to listen with both ears as opposed to straining to listen with one ear

When considering whether to purchase one or two hearing instruments, remember the advantages of hearing with two ears.

By Sandra Almlie, Audiologist

Posted in: Hearing Aids, Hearing Health

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