April 23, 2018

Modern technology of hearing aids is amazing: they are small enough to fit inside an ear unnoticed, and they can “restore hearing” to people with hearing loss, allowing a normal life.

There are probably times you have gone somewhere without the use of your hearing aids and come to realize everything they do for you and appreciate them even more than you did.

When was the first hearing aid invented?

The first prototype of hearing aids were developed more than 300 years ago! The first hearing aids, or “ear trumpets,” were huge, and using them was like holding a traffic cone to your ear to amplify the sound from one direction. The ear trumpet was developed further in the 1700s, but was still more like a horn funnel. There was not yet any technology for amplification.

With the invention of telephones and electricity, some technological advances were made with hearing aids as well. Thomas Edison’s carbon transmitter made electrical transmission of speech possible in 1878. This created an electrical boost, which was the precursor to amplification that could be adapted to hearing device technology.

In 1920 another technology was developed: vacuum tubes. Vacuum tubes made it possible to make hearing aids smaller and also amplified sound and improved frequency. The sizes continued to shrink until hearing devices were reduced to small boxes which could connect to a receiver. These devices were great for home use, but were still not portable.

The first portable hearing devices were developed in the 1930s. These wearable hearing aids had a small wire to join both ear pieces to a receiver and battery, which were often affixed to the wearer’s leg. The second World War brought circuit board technology, which allowed hearing aids to become even easier to use on the go.

In the year 1964, Zenith Radio developed behind-the-ear hearing aids and these devices became fully digital by 1996. That led to the modern hearing devices we now enjoy: programmable hearing aids that can be customized for comfort and flexibility. Meanwhile the devices themselves are as discreet as ever before. Today, 90% of hearing devices are fully digital, and with rapid advances in technology, we will soon see even better devices in the future.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

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