From mammoth-sized ear trumpets right through to the nearly invisible devices of today, hearing aids have come a long way. While ever-decreasing in size, the sound quality as well as the comfort for users have signaled the main changes. In this article, we look at the interesting history of hearing aids.
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First Hearing Aids Date Back to the 17th Century
Ear trumpets or ear horns featured a horn-like wide opening on one and a narrow end on the other end of a metal tube. Shaped like a horn, the idea was that the large opening would capture more sound and the tube carry it to the ear.
In the 18th century, conversation tubes emerged. Here, you had something that resembled an old-fashioned telephone receiver on one end and a large horn-shaped opening on the far end. The speaker would speak into that end, with the listener holding the receiver to her/his ear.
Next to emerge in the interesting history of hearing aids were ear inserts. Not much use when it comes to helping the wearer to hear, these devices remained popular from 1800 right up until the 1930s.
Electronic Hearing Aids
After the invention of the telephone in the late 19th century, inventors sought to use the same technology when making hearing aids. This is how electronic hearing aids became available.
Digital Hearing Aids
The switch from analog to digital technologies in the 1960s meant that hearing devices could now get smaller. Hence, today’s in-ear devices are hardly visible at all.
Laser Hearing Aids
The latest major chapter in the interesting history of hearing aids is the development of laser hearing aids.