The science of hearing is called audiology. This branch of medical science explores every type of hearing disorder. Audiologists look for ways to treat these issues medically, but they also take part in the development of hearing aids or implants.
But what are the roots of the science of hearing? And how did people cope with hearing problems throughout history? Here are some important historical moments to consider:
18th Century: The Invention of Sign Language
Although there is a long history of deaf people communicating with gestures, signing was not unified until the 18th century. A system of signing was created by Priest Charles Michel de L’Epp. Additionally, he built the first public school for deaf people in 1760 in France. L’Eppe published a sign language dictionary eighteen years later.
19th Century: A Major Improvement in Hearing Aids
People used simple hearing aids such as trumpets throughout history. But the invention of the telephone made it possible to amplify sound using more than just acoustics.
20th Century: The Birth of Modern Audiology
The first audiometers were invented in the 1920s. Then the aftermath of World War II made the science of hearing particularly important. After all, a lot of people had lost their hearing during the war.
Over the following decades, audiologists began specializing. For example, some only studied hearing loss in children. Each new discovery made it possible to create more precise measuring instruments and hearing aids.
New Goals in the New Century
Scientists released digital sound processing in 1996. This made it possible to create considerably more sophisticated hearing aids and hearing implants. There are also great improvements yet to come.
The medical side of audiology is improving at a rapid pace as well. For example, gene replacement therapy could revolutionize the science of hearing.