Hearing Aids Have Evolved
Hearing aids have evolved from trumpet shaped funnels to micro sized digital devices.
Hearing aids began as trumpet shaped horns made of almost any available material, from sea shells to wood.Â The small part of the trumpet was held up to the ear to direct sound through the funnel, amplifying the sound into the ear canal.Â Until the late 19th and early 20th century, all hearing aids were without any powered assistance.
The earliest recorded notation regarding man made hearing aids was made around 1588 by Italian author Giovanni Porta, who described wooden aids carved to resemble animalâ€™s ears.Â Early hearing aids were usually produced for a personâ€™s specific style and taste, as opposed to the type of hearing loss they were experiencing.
There were several companies in the 1800s established with the sole mission of manufacturing hearing aid devices.Â The modern worldâ€™s entry into the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s led to the mass production of man made hearing aids.Â These aids were generally sold to the middle class who now had disposable income that allowed the purchase of personal items such as hearing aids. Â
It was not until the early to middle 20th century that large, battery operated hearing aids became available to the public.Â Even these battery assisted hearing aids could only slightly improve hearing in those with mild to moderate hearing loss, not having enough power to really amplify sound for those with severe hearing loss. Â
Transistor hearing aids became popular in the 1950s and were worn with a pocket attachment, over the ear or in a version attached to eyeglasses.Â The technological advances in the 1980s allowed for analog hearing aids with a digital chip integrated for greater programmability.
It is fortunate the digital revolution of today has aided in the evolution of the hearing aid from a carved wooden horn to a digitally programmable hearing aid that is virtually invisible to others.Â Todayâ€™s hearing aids are small, versatile and can fit entirely into the ear canal.Â These miniature digital aids are fully programmable and provide assistance for those with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe.