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Int J Audiol. 2003 Jul;42 Suppl 2:2S63-7.

Bilateral amplification for the elderly: are two aids better than one?

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Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA.


This paper reviews the advantages and disadvantages of bilateral amplification as opposed to unilateral hearing use for older persons with bilateral symmetric hearing loss. Binaural advantages, such as improved localization and speech recognition in noise, are presented as they pertain to the older population. In addition, contraindications, such as binaural interference, increased costs, cosmetic concerns, decreased manipulation skills, and additional hearing aid management issues, are discussed. A case study is provided in which unilateral hearing aid fitting was more beneficial to a patient than two hearing aids. It is concluded that bilateral amplification should be attempted for all elderly patients with symmetric hearing loss, unless a contraindication is suspected.

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