Hearing Health Blog

Woman wearing hearing aids climbing hill with family and laughing at a joke.

When was the last time you utilized that old ear trumpet? No? You don’t have one? Because that technology is hundreds of years old. Okay, I suppose that makes sense. Ear trumpets are a bit… antiquated.

The modern(ish) hearing aid, as it happens, was introduced in the 1950s–the basic design, that is. And somehow, that’s the hearing aid which has become established in our collective consciousness. The problem is that a hearing aid made in the 1950s is just about as out-dated as a hearing trumpet. We need to really advance our thinking if we want to understand how much more advanced modern hearing aids are.

Hearing Aids, Then And Now

It’s helpful to have some perspective concerning where hearing aids started so that you can better comprehend how sophisticated they have become. If we follow the history back far enough, you can most likely find some form of hearing assistance device as far back as the 1500s (whether any of them ever really helped you hear better is still up for debate).

The “ear trumpet” was perhaps the first somewhat effective hearing assistance mechanism. This device was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. The wide end pointed out and the narrow end was put into your ear. At present, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually give some help.

Once electricity was introduced, hearing aids went through a significant innovation. The hearing aid as we now know it was really developed in the 1950s. In order to do their job, they used large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a fairly rudimentary design. But these gadgets signify the start of a hearing aid that could easily be worn and hidden. The hearing aids of the 1950s may have looked comparable to modern hearing aids but the technology and capability is worlds apart.

Modern Capabilities of Hearing Aids

Modern hearing aids are a technological masterpieces, to put it plainly. And they continue making improvements. In a number of significant ways, modern hearing aids have been making use of the digital technology of the later part of the twentieth century. Power is the first and most important way. Earlier versions had batteries that had less power in a bigger space than their modern counterparts.

And a number of innovative developments come with increased power:

  • Speech recognition: The ultimate goal, for most hearing aid users, is to facilitate communication. Isolating and boosting voices, then, is a principal function of the software of many hearing aids–from a packed restaurant to an echo-y meeting hall, this feature is useful in many situations.
  • Selective amplification: Hearing loss doesn’t occur through all wavelengths and frequencies equally. Maybe low frequency noise gets lost (or vice versa). Contemporary hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only those sounds that you can’t hear so well, resulting in a much more effective hearing aid.
  • Health monitoring: Advanced Health tracking software is also included in modern hearing aid choices. if you fall, for example, some hearing aids can detect that. There are others that can inform you about your fitness goals like how many steps that you’ve taken.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Your hearing aids can now communicate with other devices via wireless Bluetooth technology. This can be amazingly useful every day. For instance, hearing aids in the past had a difficult time with telephone calls because users would experience substantial (and sometimes unpleasant) feedback. With contemporary hearing aids, you can simply connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. You will also utilize Bluetooth connectivity to engage in a variety of other electronic activities. Because there isn’t any feedback or interference, it’s easier to listen to music, watch TV–you name it.
  • Construction: Modern hearing aids are usually constructed out of high tech materials, so they feel more comfortable. These new materials allow hearing aids to be lighter and more heavy-duty at the same time. It’s easy to see how hearing aids have improved on the outside as well as the inside by adding long lasting and rechargeable batteries.

Just as rotary phones no longer exemplify long-distance communication, the hearing aids of old no longer capture what these devices are. Hearing aids aren’t what they once were. And we should be excited because they’re much better than they used to be.

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