Hearing aids are an incredibly popular and life-changing device. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 7.1% of the population aged 45 and over used a hearing aid.
Modern hearing aids are worlds apart from their earliest incarnations. However, they wouldn’t be what they are today without the ingenuity of people that came before. As Audiology Awareness comes to a close, let’s take a brief look at the history of the hearing aid as well as the benefits of using them to treat your hearing loss.
A Glimpse of Hearing Aid History
- 1600s: The first hearing aids were actually funnel-shaped devices, often referred to as ear trumpets. You may have seen depictions in illustrations or in the media. While these instruments were not particularly functional or easy to use, they represent an important early attempt to improve hearing.
- 1898: Miller Reese Hutchinson invented the first electric hearing aid. Inspired by the invention of the telephone, he created what was known as the Akouphone. This was a portable device that used a carbon transmitter to amplify sound.
- 1920: Naval engineer Earl Hanson patented the first vacuum-tube hearing aid called the Vactuphone. The device used a telephone transmitter to convert speech into electrical signals, which were amplified through the receiver.
- 1938: The Aurex Corp created the first wearable hearing aid. It consisted of an amplifier-receiver, which was clipped onto a person’s clothes with a thin wire that connected to an earpiece. The device also used a battery pack that attached to the user’s clothes as well.
- 1970: This year marked the creation of the microprocessor. This was a giant step toward transforming hearing aids into the miniature and technologically advanced devices we have today.
Hearing Aid Benefits
Through these breakthroughs in history and others more recently, modern hearing aids offer more benefits to users than ever before. Using hearing aids can help you:
- Feel confident in your ability to communicate at work, increasing the likelihood of professional success and fulfillment
- Stay connected to your family and loved ones
- Enjoy events that you may have avoided before treating your hearing loss, such as dinner out at a busy restaurant like Table 32
Additionally, people who use hearing aids can help reduce their risk of health conditions linked to untreated hearing loss, such as anxiety and depression, balance problems, cognitive decline and dementia.
If you’ve been thinking about hearing aids and want to speak with a specialist or make an appointment, call Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants today.