With an increasing need to counter the hearing problem, there began the evolution of hearing aids. Here is a brief history of hearing aids – a brief to where we are today:
- Acoustic Hearing Aids:
Known as trumpets, that capture sound waves and send them down a tube to the listener’s ear. It was big, bulky and unattractive; above all, it was ineffective. Trumpets were the “state-of-the-art” hearing aids until electricity was invented.
- Carbon Hearing Aids:
Took quite some time even after the electricity was invented, to come up with this first electrically operated hearing aid in the late 19th century. In this hearing aid, carbon was used to amplify the current and increase the sound volume. During this period, this heavy and buzzy device was the only choice for people who have hearing loss problems.
- Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids:
Some innovation in the 1920s. The vacuum tubes were used to control the flow of electricity and it made the hearing little better. The major disadvantage is that the box was as big as a radio (of the past) and was heavy. The user had to carry this box everywhere and it amplified all the sound.
The innovation of the 1950s, the transistors fit into the pocket and the ear piece is wired. This electronic system was more comfortable than that of the older hearing aids. However, the transistor was heavier to carry, though compact. Over the years, they managed to shrink the size even further to an extent that it can fit behind the ear. There was an improvisation in the quality, however was featureless and of low profile.
- Digital Hearing Aids:
Today’s hearing aids are of high definition and uses digital technology. From circuits to microchips, the last three decades saw a number of research and innovation and today we have wide range of latest technology hearing aids sizing from compact behind the ear to invisible. They are sleek, fashionable and is of low maintenance. The hearing aids can connect to multiple devices, can automatically adjust volume and adapt to background noises.