How Has Hearing Aid Tech Evolved
Posted by Living Sounds
The recorded history of hearing loss goes back hundreds of years. Today’s hearing aid technology is still evolving. However, it has come a long way since the days of the very first attempts to improve hearing. When you look at the hearing aids of decades past, today’s modern hearing aid technology looks nothing short of amazing.
First Attempts at Improving Hearing
As early as the 13th century, people used hollowed-out sheep and cow horns to help hear the world around them. The funnel shape of the horns served to collect and concentrate the sound, aiming it toward the eardrum. The ear trumpet was invented in the 18th century. These metal, funnel-shaped devices served the same purpose as the animal horns. They collected sound and direct it toward the ears. While ear trumpets were bulky and inconvenient, they were the only option available until the 19th century.
The First Electronic Hearing Aids
The combination of the invention of the telephone and the practical uses for electricity had a huge impact on the development of electronic hearing aids. People with hearing loss were amazed at how well they could hear over the telephone compared in-person conversations. One famous person who dealt with hearing loss, Thomas Edison, worked to improve this situation. He invented the carbon transmitter for the phone in 1870. This transmitter amplified the electrical signals and increased decibel levels, making it even easier for people to hear.
Hearing aid technology has always followed in the footsteps of tech improvements in other industries. In the 1920s, inventors used vacuum tubes to increase sound levels immensely. Transistor technology became popular in the mid-20th century. Innovators used them to create the first in-the-ear hearing aid. However it wasn’t until the late 20th century, that tech went from analog to digital. This allowed hearing aids to offer far greater flexibility and technical capabilities.
Today’s Hearing Aid Technology
With the ability to be programmed and personalized for each individual person based on their lifestyle, today’s hearing aids are adaptable to a variety of listening environments. With the wide variety of models available such as invisible products, hearing aids made to complement an iPhone, wireless accessories that work with hearing aids, and technology designed to give relief from tinnitus, people experiencing hearing difficulty have more options than ever before, for improving their hearing.