For centuries, there was nothing available to help you compensate for any damage done to your hearing. However, as the understanding of the human body increased and technology advanced, scientists and inventors alike took tremendous strides towards compensating for hampered senses. Hearing is just one of the various areas in which technology and science came together to make the world a more enjoyable place.
The First Hearing Aid
If you lived in the 17th or 18th centuries and had a hearing impairment, an ear trumpet would have been your best friend. This tool varied in size and shape, but its fundamental elements remained the same. One end of the instrument was narrow enough to fit inside your ear while the opposite end broadened to a cone or horn-shaped opening. Manufacturers made these trumpets from a broad variety of materials including wood, metal and snail shells.
A New Century Begins
As the 1800s came to a close and the new century began, Miller R. Hutchinson invented the first electronic hearing aid. A carbon transmitter picked up sound and carried it to a small speaker held directly beside your ear. These devices sold for approximately $400 each. Adjusting for inflation, they would have cost you over $12,000 today.
As the years passed, more companies developed hearing aids that would be worn over or inside of your ear. The Siemens Company provided hearing aids that enhanced sound electronically, making it easier for you to hear. However, these devices were typically bulky and difficult to transport. Eventually, Zenith’s pocket-sized Miniature 75 replaced these devices after World War II.
The road to creating digital hearing aids was long but well worth the effort. In the late 1900s, manufacturers began producing portable hearing aids that digitally processed sound signals for you. These new electronic devices reduced unnecessary noise and improved clarity, requiring much less effort in order for you to understand voices around you.
Modern Hearing Aids
As another century came to a close, the size of hearings aids decreased as the quality and affordability of the product continued to improve. Some hearing aids are now so discreet that the average person would not notice if you were wearing them. These modern devices can even be customized to perfectly fit your unique ear shape! With a variety of options from all around the world, it is easy to find the perfect set of hearing aids just for you.
You can merely imagine what life would be like if hearing aids had simply remained a piece of wood held beside the ear. Each modernized version of the hearing aid required considerable investments of both time and money. Thankfully, that never stopped the scientists or inventors who strove to introduce clear, unhampered sound to those who longed to hear it.