Evolution of hearing aids

1. Early history

Back in the early days, people simply resorted to holding their hand behind their ears or used animal horns.

2. Mechanical era


German scientist Athanasius Kircher invented the speaking tube in 1650. He also invented a twisted tube modelled on the shape of the inner ear. In the 18th century, Claude-Nicolas Le Cat made the first ear trumpet capable of amplifying sound by 15 decibels. In 1841, a British surgeon developed the acoustic chair. The chair had a raised back fitted with two ear-like wings on either side that could capture sound, as well as a tube of compressed air that served to amplify sound.

3- Electric era


Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell, whose wife and daughter were deaf, tried to develop hearing aids by converting sound waves into electric impulses, which then led to his invention of the telephone?

1905 saw the development of a portable electric hearing device composed of a microphone worn around the neck, a battery and an amplifier. In 1920, the Vactuphone, a small box roughly the size of a suitcase, arrived on the scene. It was equipped with a microphone with a wire connection to the ear. By 1925 the Vactuphone had shrunk so much in size, users could carry it in their pockets. In 1937, an even more compact and effective hearing aid called the Sonotone was launched.

4- Electronic era


With the development of the transistor in 1947, electronics began to be incorporated into hearing aids. By 1953 the Sonotone had evolved to include a transistor and a vacuum tube, resulting in an even more compact size and enhanced sound quality. The use of transistors made it possible to offer much more compact hearing devices, leading to the introduction, in 1956, of analogue behind-the-ear hearing aids. Shortly after, the first hearing aids built into eyeglass frames were designed. The first in-ear hearing aids became available in the mid-1970s. While digital technology came into use as a programming feature from the late 1980s onward, the amplification functions of hearing aids continued to rely on analogue technology. The first fully digital devices became available in 1996, paving the way for the highperformance hearing aid styles available today.

Minor Repairs and Verification

An evaluation is required by a hearing care professional to determine if the hearing aid is suitable for the patients needs.

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