The benefits of bilateral hearing include improved speech understanding, especially in background noise; improved localization; and enhanced safety due to increased awareness of the auditory environment.
Although unilateral cochlear implants generally provide good speech understanding under quiet conditions, patients frequently report difficulty understanding speech and speech localization in noisy environments (Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;17:351-355).
In addition, “patients with bilateral implants report being less fatigued with the act of hearing at the end of the day,” Dr. Lalwani noted. “A person with a single CI is pretty tired at the end of the day—they have to expend a lot of energy to understand” their environment.