Why we have two ears


Do you ever wondered why we have two ears instead of one? The body is a finely tuned “machine,” and our ears are designed to pick up sound waves from our surroundings. If you’ve ever had hearing loss in one ear, you know that it can be challenging to decipher noise, or understand where it came from. People with hearing aids also may notice a difference if they are only wearing one device. Here are just a few reasons why hearing out of two ears is better than one:

Direction of sound

A woman's ear
Ears work together to localize sound.

Your ears transmit sound waves to the brain, and having an ear on each side of the head makes it easier for us to determine where the sound is coming from. Sometimes referred to as “sound localization,” having two ears allows you to pinpoint the origin of sounds in your environment, such as finding where the siren is coming from when you’re driving in a car. This is also known as “directional hearing.”

Wider range

With two ears, you are able to hear sounds clearly from both directions. Hearing sound from only one side of the body limits the amount of sound that you can hear clearly from the other side. This limits the range from which you can understand and comprehend noises.

When you are in a social situation, two ears make it easier to hear sounds. If you have to struggle to hear people talking around you, chances are you will not be very relaxed in these environments. Having two ears compared with one increases the range which you are able to hear from 180 to 360 degrees. 

Better sound quality

Have you ever noticed when only one of your stereo speakers emits sound? The quality isn’t nearly as loud or clear. This concept applies to your ears as well. With two ears, sound is more balanced and it may even sound more natural. Monaural hearing, one ear, creates an unusual feeling because the brain is not stimulated equally.

A bit of cushion for loud sounds

Two ears offer a bit of cushion because the sounds are divided between two ears, and this makes it possible to tolerate louder noises. Having binaural hearing helps sudden, loud sounds lose the jarring effects when divided. 

The ability to clearly hear out of two ears is important for day-to-day functions and peace of mind.

Get help

In the event you’re experiencing difficulty hearing clearly, visit a hearing healthcare professional in your area to address your concerns.


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