Hearing Aid History

Last update on Jul, 26, 2017

Despite being a popular subject in our society today, most people don’t know anything about the hearing aid. Many overlook hearing aids until they become prominent in our lives. It's amazing how something so small can have such a great impact on our lives. Here are some pieces of history about the hearing aid that you may not know.

Older than you think

Despite the hearing aid’s technological background and its advanced modifications, it’s actually older than some would suspect. In fact, the creation of the hearing aid can be traced all the way back to the 13th century.

Made from horns

Some of the first hearing aids were actually constructed of animal horns and looked like trumpets. These trumpet-like hearing aids worked as the thin tube side was placed directly in the ear and the wider side facing away from the ear.

Once a fashion choice

The hearing aid isn’t exactly what people would think of as a fashion choice. But, living in the 1800’s, the hearing aid started to show up more in modern life and it was almost a priority to make them fit in with social attire. If people weren’t trying to conceal them, they were used as decorative accessories such as collars, head wear and were even fixed into hairstyles.

Adding electricity

By the 1900’s, the hearing aid was finally able to amplify its sound electronically. The reason behind this breakthrough is the hearing aid manufacturers’ decision to make use of carbon microphones and batteries.

Father of the electric hearing aid

The very first electric hearing aid was created by Miller Reese Hutchison and was referred to as the Akouphone. To make the hearing aid portable, Hutchinson used a carbon transmitter to amplify sound.

Adding silicon

By the late 20th century, smaller hearing aids were being developed.  A key factor to the decrease of hearing aid size was the manufacturers’ idea to make transistors out of silicon.

Over the last few decades, hearing aids have made even more impressive breakthroughs, which you can learn more about here. We’re excited to see where this important technology goes in the next few decades!

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