Hear with Two Ears


Humans are born with two ears.
But why isn’t one ear enough?

Select your Language

Please, select a language for this page

Nature has intended for us to hear with two ears, known as binaural hearing. Binaural hearing allows us to locate sounds, focus on conversations in noisy settings, and listen closely for longer without getting exhausted.


When You Can’t Hear with Two Ears

When one ear suffers, a person’s quality of life also suffers. Those suffering from hearing loss in one ear typically notice the following changes in everyday life:

  • Social or work conversations in noisy places are hard to follow.
  • It is difficult to tell where sounds come from.
  • More mental effort is needed to listen, leading to fatigue.
  • Being in noisy places often causes anxiety.


A Simulation:
Hearing Loss in One Ear

It is often difficult for friends, coworkers and family members to understand how someone with hearing loss in one ear experiences everyday situations differently. We have created two short clips comparing full binaural hearing to hearing loss in one ear.

To compare the difference, put on headphones. Make sure that left and right are on the correct sides. Next, choose a scene and press play to start. As you listen, holding the mouse button will simulate hearing with two ears and releasing the mouse button will simulate hearing with one ear. Notice the difference, then click the arrow on the left or right to switch scenes.

Right Ear Left Ear

Put on your headphones

Choose a scene

SOUND LOCALIZATION

Click here to start

TAP TO START
“After asking someone to repeat what they said three or four times during a conversation, I gave up! I retreated into myself and stopped actively participating in conversations.”

Johanna Pätzhold, age 24

Thousands Have Overcome Hearing Loss

Those suffering from hearing loss are not alone. Although hearing loss can be overwhelming, thousands all around the world have overcome this challenge.

Over 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss.1

Adults who report hearing loss are 6.5% more likely to suffer moderate to severe depression.2

Approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss.1

Binaural Hearing:
Discover the Difference

Here’s how hearing well with two ears has improved people’s quality of life.

“I can hear running water. I can hear birds and other animals outside. I can hear lyrics in music much more than before.”

Rod, age 50, United States

Solutions for Hearing Loss

Solutions for Hearing Loss

Thousands of people around the world suffer from hearing loss. There are solutions available. To find out more, select the description below that best matches your situation (or the situation of someone you care for).

Hearing Loss in One Ear

I might have hearing loss in one ear and do not have any hearing devices.

CI for Single-Sided Deafness

Cochlear Implant in One Ear

I have a cochlear implant in one ear but experience hearing loss in the other ear.

Bimodal Hearing

Two Hearing Aids

I have two hearing aids, but it is no longer enough.

Bilateral Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implants Can Replicate Hearing

Approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss. Those with severe to profound hearing loss in the inner ear can see significant improvements in their quality of life with a cochlear implant. Learn how a cochlear implant works:


Discover More
Because We Care

MED-EL – Because We Care

When MED-EL’s founders invented the first modern cochlear implant, their goal was to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication and quality of life. Since 1990, MED-EL systems have restored hearing to more than 200,000 individuals worldwide.

Our dedicated support network and local care specialists in 120 countries ensure our recipients are always well cared for. When you’re ready to take the next step, we’ll be here with you every step of the way.

Experience Full Binaural Hearing

Let us know if you or someone you care for would like to hear with two ears again. Fill out the form below and we will contact you.

1 World Health Organization. (2020). Deafness and hearing loss. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss.
2 Li, C., Zhang, X., Hoffman, H., Cotch, M., Themann, C., & Wilson, M. (2014). Hearing Impairment Associated With Depression in US Adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, 140(4), 293-302. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2014.42.