Hearing Aids Origins


Although today hearing aids can be quite hi-tech, depending of course which ones you are thinking of, the hearing aid had very humble beginnings and was very low-tech. Although the hearing aid may have been around for thousands of years, the first mention of them in written form was in a book by Giovanni Battista Porta written in 1588 in which he mentions pieces of wood being carved into the shapes of the ears of animals renowned for their hearing. Although it is not clear just who used these primitive hearing aids or when they first came into being, it does show that they were being used by at least one civilization as long as half a millennium ago.

The first hearing aids that we are more common with first became popular in the 1600s and these were known as “Trumpets” as they were somewhat trumpet shaped with the a narrow end to fit in the ear and a wider end to pick up sound which would then be amplified to the narrower end. The first of these hearing aids were made of horn, shell or even glass but later, brass and copper “trumpets “ became more fashionable.

In the 1700s it was realized that bone was an excellent conductor of sound and that sound could be carried through the bone of the skull, directly to the brain. This realization led to fan shaped devices being placed behind the ear in order to collect sound which was then transmitted through the smaller bones located behind the ear and to the brain.

The 1800s saw the first attempts to make hearing aids inconspicuous and even hidden from sight. Various ways of doing this were to have the devices integrated into wigs, collars and hats or disguised as pieces of jewelry. The 1800s also saw the first echo chambers when members of royalty would have listening devices in the arms of their thrones which transmitted the sound to a special area surrounding the royalty’s head.

With the 1900s seeing the inventions of both electricity and the telephone, electrical amplification of sound soon followed which ultimately led to the various different types of hearing aids we have today. As you will see from websites like the Danish audika.dk, there are today several types of hearing aids available to buy and these include devices which often fit behind the ear or even inside the ear canal, making some virtually invisible and others completely invisible.

The modern hearing aids of today can now be reasonably hi-tech with miniaturized receivers, amplifiers and speakers which can all fit in the confines of an ear and are powered by miniaturized batteries. A person’s choice of hearing aid may depend on price and personal preference so most hearing clinics or other medical facilities will usually offer their visitors several choices to choose from.

Although hearing loss can be attributed to many causes, the most common cause is aging and as this cause often occurs over a period of time, often it is a family member that becomes aware of the problem before the one who is actually suffering from an increased lack of hearing.