If you have hearing aids, you may often stop to think about what a marvel they are: they are small enough to fit inside of our ears, they can restore our hearing to us when we can no longer hear clearly, and they do it more seamlessly than ever! If you’ve ever been stuck somewhere without the use of your hearing aids, you may have come to appreciate them even more!
Modern hearing aids are incredible, but they weren’t always as great as they are now. The first hearing aid prototype was built over 300 years ago, and it looked nothing like the hearing aids we have today!
A Brief History of Hearing Devices
The 18th century brought the first hearing devices. Dubbed “ear trumpets,” they were large and cumbersome, creating a physical funnel to amplify sound into the ear. It was about as sophisticated as holding a traffic cone to your ear.
Technology boomed in the nineteenth century, which saw the introduction of electricity and telephones. This technology was very relevant to hearing devices, and the further development of Edison’s carbon transmitter in 1878 brought us one step closer to modern hearing aids.
The vacuum tube, invented in 1920, allowed for a smaller hearing aid: a small box with a receiver. This made hearing aids more useful at home, but they still weren’t portable.
A few years later, wearable hearing devices were developed, affixed to a battery and receiver tied around the leg. Hearing aids became more portable with the development of circuit board technology during the second World War.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids were developed by Zenith Radio in 1964, and by 1996 the digital revolution had given hearing devices new wings. Subsequent technological advancements followed, each year bringing smaller, more discrete models. Current models of hearing aids are nearly invisible, fitting deep into the ear canal. Programming and adjustment can be easily and discreetly done using a smart phone or other device, and most hearing aids are completely digital. We can only anticipate more and more technological advances in the future.
So how about you? Could your hearing use an upgrade? Ask your audiologist about the latest options in hearing aid technology to make your life easier.
We’re proud to have served Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and the entire Bay Area for more than 40 years. We’re here to provide the right solution for Your Life, Your Style.
You are invited to attend our Listen Up Café!
Listen Up Café, Friday, March 20, 2020 from 10 am -12 pm
The History of Hearing Aids
Special Guest Lecturer: Tak Katsumoto
RSVP by calling us at 408.703.0772 to reserve your spot!
We’ll have light refreshments and a great discussion—see you there!
Los Gatos Audiology – 15899 Los Gatos-Almaden Rd. Suite 8, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (on the corner of National and Los Gatos-Almaden Rd.) www.losgatosaudiology.com