The answer: Yes, if you have hearing loss in both ears, you almost certainly hear better with two hearing aids.
The lingering question probably stems from the old way of doing things: Prior to about the 1908s or so, it was common for people to wear just one hearing aid even if they had hearing loss in both ears, because there was no connectivity between the aids. This new digital connectivity gives us the opportunity for better noise reduction, speech focus, and better localization for sound than we ever had with analog devices.
Sound localization works a lot like binocular vision. Close one eye and try walking on the edge of a sidewalk. Don’t really. That would be dangerous. Two ears, like two eyes give us a much fuller world. Our sounds have much more depth and beauty. Hearing with one ear is…well…flat.
Wearing two hearing aids means each ear picks up sound and gets the stimulus the bran needs to stay at peak performance. You know, hearing doesn’t actually happen in the ear. That’s right! The ear just funnels the sound to the brain where all the processing happens. Where meaning is attached to the sounds. Two hearing aids keep both sides of the brain active and allow for both sides of the brain to get involved with following the conversation.
Wearing two hearing aids delivers better masking of tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) because both ears are getting input from the outside world thus taking the focus away from what’s going on inside your head. This works even if the tinnitus is only on one side. Again, the brain is what is interpreting what the sounds mean. The tinnitus doesn’t mean anything to the brain. It’s just there. However, a pair of hearing aids can overrule tinnitus.
Wearing two hearing aids provides ‘binaural summation’ which means you don’t have to turn the volume up so high. The brain has an increased perception of the volume and that means you’ll be able to get more ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of loudness. Neither of the devices would need to have the power output as high as a single device trying to do the work of two. This can help you conserve hearing aid battery life, let you wear smaller hearing aids since not as much power is needed, and help you relax a little while not working so hard to hear.