When you’re sitting around at home and hear a loud bang, your first instinct is to turn your head towards the direction of the unexpected noise and try find out what’s going on. This instinctive reaction to localise where the sound originated from is referred to as binaural hearing.
What is binaural hearing?
Also commonly referred to as ‘directional hearing’, binaural hearing is the ability to hear in two ears. Working in conjunction with our brain to process sound, binaural hearing helps you determine the relative direction or location that a sound is coming from.
If the sound is clear enough, you might even be able to get an idea of which direction the sound is moving in. Our reliance on binaural hearing is so inherent that you might not even notice the effect of hearing loss, in one or both ears, creeping up on you, ultimately impacting your overall sense of direction.
Binaural hearing: A harmonious relationship between the brain and ears
How it works: Your brain
Processing sound coming from the ears, your brain will quickly establish the volume of the sound, its distance and triangulate the source to work out where the noise is originating from.
To do this effectively, your brain is reliant on the hearing ability of both your ears. If you start experiencing bilateral hearing loss, it’s just as difficult to localise sounds, with even less information for your brain to process.
How it works: Your ear shape
Having evolved over time, the shape of your outer ear makes it easier for the inner ear to gauge sounds coming from various sources around you.
Can you improve binaural hearing loss?
There are several hearing aids on the market, dedicated to wearers with binaural hearing loss. However, even if there is only total hearing loss in just one ear, the wearer needs to be wearing hearing aids on both ears.
In consultation with your audiologist, it’s important that you always wear two hearing aids. No different to watching a movie with both eyes or listening to your favourite tunes with both ears, hearing aids work best when used together.
Your hearing aids are designed to collect sounds from both sounds, filtering and feeding sounds to the good hearing side in a way that helps you determine the direction the sound is coming from. Picture yourself in a social environment where there are multiple speakers talking at different times, moving their heads, and changing the direction of the sounds. When both your ears can hear these voices, only then can the brain determine where the sounds are coming from.
Learn more about the reasons why you should wear two hearing aids and not just one.
We’re here to support your journey to better hearing
Whether you’re new to the world of hearing aids or have been wearing them for a while now, it’s essential that you’re getting regular hearing health check-ups. With the rapid advancements in today’s technology, better hearing is just a step away, so don’t leave it untreated.
The key to optimising your hearing health is to understand your condition and seek professional help from a hearing specialist. At bloom™ hearing specialists, we’re always here to help. To learn more about our hearing services, book an appointment with us today.