What is a Monaural Hearing Aid?

Hearing loss isn’t a new phenomenon. As such, people have been looking for ways to help treat their hearing loss for centuries. It’s estimated that the first hearing aid was created in the 17th century. The development of the telephone subsequently helped in the development of the first electric hearing aid in 1898.

When hearing aids were initially developed, they were what is known as a monaural hearing aid. What this means is that the device worked individually. Even if someone was wearing two monaural hearing aids, they did not connect to one another. Today, we’re taking a closer look at monaural hearing aids.

How Do We Hear?

Before exploring what a monaural hearing aid is it’s important to understand how our hearing works.

Humans naturally have what’s known as binaural hearing, which is the ability to hear in two ears. Often, individuals experience hearing loss in one ear (also known as unilateral hearing loss). As the name indicates, It means that there is hearing loss, or sometimes complete deafness in only one ear.

People experiencing one-sided hearing loss are likely to have additional symptoms besides just a lack of hearing from the affected ear. This is classified as monaural hearing. It presents a problem for overall hearing because we normally have binaural hearing. That means both ears work in conjunction to process the sounds we hear. Much in the same way we use two eyes to see, we need hearing in both ears to process sounds accurately.  In fact, many people who have one-sided hearing loss report more problems hearing than those who have hearing loss in both ears. Therefore, people with one-sided hearing loss might experience some or all of the following problems:

  • Hearing conversations on the affected side
  • Determining the origin of sound
  • Understanding speech in an environment with background noise
  • Social communication
  • Difficulty concentrating in large, open environments

What is a Monaural Hearing Aid?

A monaural hearing aid is a hearing aid worn only in one ear. Wearing a monaural hearing aid was once standard practice; in fact in 1984, approximately 78.2% of hearing aid fittings were monaural. In recent years, this trend has reversed, and binaural hearing aids (that is, the use of two hearing aids to help correct a hearing loss) is the new norm.

There are a number of benefits to wearing two hearing aids, not least of which is the ability to replicate ‘normal binaural hearing.’ If you’d like more information on the benefits of wearing two hearing aids, check out our recent blog here.

Today, hearing aids come in a wide variety of styles. Your hearing care professional will be able to determine the style of hearing aid that is right for you, depending on your type of hearing loss, lifestyle, and more.

We Can Help You!

If you’d like more information, or would like to explore hearing aids that may be suited to your lifestyle, please get in touch with the hearing care professionals at Anderson Audiology. We’ll start with a complimentary hearing assessment to determine your baseline hearing. schedule an appointment today with one of our hearing professionals at one of our five convenient audiology clinic locations in southern Nevada.

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