A Brief History Of Hearing Aids

Hearing loss has been a common problem throughout human history, but we are lucky to live in a time where highly sophisticated hearing aids are available to help those in need. Understanding the way in which hearing aid technology has progressed can help us to appreciate the excellent options we have today, and can show us how effective these can be!

history of hearing aids

 How Has Hearing Technology Changed?

 Hearing technology is often referred to in writing and art from many years ago, and we can learn from these sources about the way in which hearing loss was treated in the past. Historians know that the horns of animals were used to direct sounds into the ear as early as the 13th century AD, but a purpose built device was not created until the 18th century, when the ear trumpet was invented.

 1. Ear trumpets:

Ear trumpets worked by collecting sounds and funnelling them into the ear, making hearing easier for those with hearing loss. This is a method that is often seen in art and literature produced many years ago, and Dickens references the device regularly, but they would not have been very effective at improving hearing.

 2. Electronic hearing aids:

After the introduction of electricity and the telephone, in the 19th century, the potential for electronic hearing aids developed. Thomas Edison himself suffered with hearing loss, and he created a device to amplify conversations held on the telephone. This led to the early carbon hearing aid, which had a limited frequency range and often sounded scratchy but was used for several years after its invention in 1902.

 3. Vacuum tube technology:

Vacuum tubes were used in hearing aids developed in the 1920s, and these were much more effective than earlier options but much larger. Efforts were made to reduce the size, making them portable, but they were not wearable until 1938, when an option with an earpiece, wire and receiver was developed. This still required a large battery, but was popular until the late 1940s, when the invention of small batteries made smaller devices possible for the first time.

 4. Transistor technology:

In 1948, a huge step was taken towards discreet hearing aids when the transistor was invented. This invention made it possible to create smaller hearing aids that could be worn completely inside or behind the ear, an instantly popular innovation.

 5. Digital technology:

The move from analogue to digital technology took place in the early 2000s, and digital hearing aids have transformed the lives of many people with hearing loss. Hearing aids today contain more advanced technology than a smartphone, and can offer adaptive and connective technology that makes daily life easier.

Book A Free Hearing Test At Hidden Hearing

Hidden Hearing is the leading private provider of hearing care solutions in Ireland, with a national network that includes 75 branches and clinics. We have an excellent range of digital hearing aids for you to try, so simply call us today to book your free hearing test.