Hearing loss can be a frightening realisation for most, and therefore goes untreated simply due not only to denial, but also fear. What's the oldest trick in the book when trying to overcome your fears? Facing them head on and learning about them! A lot of people are afraid to admit they may have hearing loss for a variety of reasons, but if they learned a little bit more about the technology itself, this wouldn't be so.
Check out the evolution of hearing aids and you might just come to find they're not so scary after all.
The ear trumpet
While the ear trumpet does sound somewhat like a torture device, the cutting-edge technology we have today wasn't always available for people who weren't able to hear their companions clearly. As a solution for hearing loss, the ear trumpet was invented, marking one of the earliest forms of hearing aids made in the 1600s. It basically looked like a giant funnel that would fit into the ear and amplify sound waves. Fortunately, hearing advancements got a little less bulky than this in the future!
Enter two of the most notable inventors of all time: Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. In 1876, Bell sought out to create a device to help some of his hard of hearing family members – what he ended up with was a device that exactly achieve this, but could transmit sounds instead. You know it better as the telephone.
Edison then aimed to amplify the sounds transmitted through the phone. His success was the carbon transmitter, which eventually became the prototype for today's hearing aids.
Electronic and digital hearing aids
The next decade continued to grapple with electric technologies like vacuum-tube hearing aids and transistors. Only the transistor was portable, as it fit behind the ear. This became the base for what we use today, but digital advancements really took it to the next level with the microprocessor. Now, devices could be even smaller, yet more powerful.
The important thing to remember about the progression of hearing improvement is that all hearing solutions are made with the user in mind. They have been designed to help those with hearing loss in the most comfortable and inconspicuous ways possible. This has lead us to current devices that open up the soundscape much more than each predecessor.
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