Importance of hearing with both ears

Natural hearing is binaural hearing

Have you ever wondered why we are born with ‘two’ ears if ‘one’ could have done the job? Well, while you can hear even with one functioning ear, it is only when you hear with both ears that your brain is able to fully understand sound, and the secret details hidden in it such as where it is coming from, differentiating sound from noise or how loud it really is. You see, natural hearing depends on two ears and our brain is designed to process sounds from two ears.

Advantages of hearing with both ears

Here are some of the practical advantages of hearing with both ears that you may not have been aware of:

  • The ability to localise where the sound is coming from. Example: Identifying that a car is on your left while on a busy street.
  • Understanding speech in noisy places is better. Example: Being able to hear a friend in a noisy train, or understand a teacher in a noisy classroom or kindergarten.
  • Speech recognition ability is improved when the sound comes from separate sources. Example: Being able to hear a group of people speak to you.
  • Sensitivity is improved to fine differences. Example: Being able to differentiate between similar voices.
  • Sound is more balanced. Example: Perception of stereophonic sounds.

These advantages of binaural hearing gives ease of listening even in difficult listening environments, thereby making daily life more comfortable for those who hear with both ears.1

1. C. Sammeth, S. M. Bundy and D. A. Miller, «Bimodal Hearing or Bilateral Cochlear Implants: A Review of the Research Literature,» Seminars in Hearing, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 3-31, 2011.


The information on this website is for educational purposes, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.