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The evolution of hearing aids - once it was a shell!

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The evolution of hearing aids - once it was a shell!

Back to the 15th century, the first attempts of inventing an acoustic instrument in order to improve hearing took place.

Usually, the first move that people with hearing loss do to themselves, when they are not able hear quite proper, is to bring their hands back to their ears and to push the flap. This "hand move" inspired the first hearing aids, which were either sea shells or tubes that people held near their ears in order to get the sound louder.

The first descriptions for hearing and the attempts of improving it, were made by doctor Gerolamo Cardano (1501-1576). Around 1550, Cardano described the bone conductivity in the ear. Bones and smaller bones facilitate the passage of sounds.

Eight years later, in 1558, Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615), presented the first hearing aids in his writings, they were made from wood and shaped like animal ears.

In 17th & 18th century, the use of ear trumpets became very common for hearing impaired individuals.  The first commercial production of the ear trumpet was established by Frederick C. Rein in 1800.

Graham Bell (1847- 1922), the telephone inventor, dealt with the education of the deaf since 1872 and tried to find the device or instrument that could improve hearing. Both Graham Bell’s mother and wife were deaf, that was influencing his life's work quite a lot.

Later in 1886, inventor Thomas Edison (1847- 1931) had presented the carbon transmitter, which converts the sound into electrical signals and allows it to travel through wires and then converts electrical signals back into sound. In 1898 the first carbon-hearing aids appeared in the market and in the next year (1899), Miller Reese Hutchison obtained a patent for a headset with carbon microphone and transmitter operating with batteries. Hutchison's interest in the invention stemmed from a childhood friend who was deaf and besides his engineering studies he also attended classes at the Medical College of Alabama to study the anatomy of the ear. Along with J. Wilson, Miller Reese Hutchison founded a company and launched the first practical hearing aids in the market.

The revolution in hearing aids took place in 1952, with hybrids using two vacuum tubes and a transistor. Meanwhile, the headphones began to diminish. Initially, they were ‘hiding’ behind the ear and then into it.

Since the mid-90s, the era of digital audio began. Today, the hearing aids are invisible, reliable and stylish. As the years pass, they are becoming smaller and smaller in size and the best hearing experience results are achieved by using the latest technology.

Your expert on hearing aids when traveling in the south is EarHealth in Thessalonica!

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Photo being used: "Copyright by the HearingAidMuseum.com and used by permission"

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