Over the past two centuries, hearing aids, now donned by tens of millions of people all over the world, weren’t always so compact and efficient. Today they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They used to be pretty big, but over the years their size has been pared down to provide additional comfort for the individual. Young and old alike can show appreciation for innovative technology giving birth to hearing aids that are state of the art. Take a look back in time at how hearing aid technology has advanced.
The First Hearing Aids
The technical term many years ago ear trumpet, but these devices weren’t really like modern hearing aids at all. First created for use in the hearing impaired community, they failed to feature size uniformity but they could picking up on nearby sounds and direct them into the inner ear. The purpose was so the user could hear slightly better, but the sound amplification left a lot to be desired. Those with just slight hearing impairments were the only ones who could realistically benefit from them.
Carbon Hearing Aids Came Next
A carbon microphone function in tandem with a magnetic receiver and battery could create carbon hearing aids that were inspired from the creation of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. This occurred in the late 19th century hit, featuring the ability for sound to hit the outside of the microphone and press carbon pieces in the hearing aid against the diaphragm. This is what actually formed the sound, process that was similar to the way sound waves operated. Instead, they generated sub par sound and very few frequencies. Again, only individuals with the slightest hearing impairments could be successful in using these.
The Precursor to Modern Hearing Aids: Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids
Before the modern hearing aids as we know them came out, vacuum tube hearing aids were the first of the electronic hearing aids to make their appearance in the 1920s. Bell Labs went on to tweak the design with the invention of the first transistor for hearing aid use. Working by using a transmitter from a telephone, this device could quickly convert sounds grouped into electrical signals to amplify the sound via the receiver end. The result? One of the first portable hearing aids paving the way for electronic hearing aid design even though it weighed seven pounds. Still, investors and customers remained convinced it was a sign of the future that could truly help those with hearing impairments.