Hearing Assessment Center, LLC - Lutherville, Bel Air, and  Nottingham, MD

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

Have you utilized your ear trumpet lately? No? You don’t use 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 developed in the 1950s–the basic shape, that is. And for some reason, that’s the hearing aid which has become established in our collective consciousness. The trouble is that a hearing aid made in the 1950s is just about as antiquated as a hearing trumpet. We need to really advance our thinking if we want to get an accurate picture of how much more advanced modern hearing aids are.

The History of Hearing Aids

It’s worthwhile to have some perspective concerning where hearing aids began so that you can better understand how sophisticated they have become. As far back as the 1500s, it’s possible to come across some form of hearing aid (though, there’s no proof that these wooden, ear-shaped artifacts actually worked).

The “ear trumpet” was most likely the first partially useful hearing assistance apparatus. This construct was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. The wide end faced the world and the narrow end was directed inside your ear. At present, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually provided some help.

When electricity was introduced, hearing aids went through a significant innovation. In the 1950s the hearing aid as we know it was developed. In order to do their job, they made use of large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a rather basic design. But these gadgets signify the beginning of a hearing aid that could easily be worn and concealed. Of course, modern hearing aids may share the same shape and mission as those early 1950s models–but their performance goes light years beyond what was conceivable 70 years ago.

Modern Capabilities of Hearing Aids

Put simply, modern hearing aids are technological masterpieces. And they’re constantly improving. Since the later years of the twentieth century, modern hearing aids have been utilizing digital technologies in a number of powerful ways. Power is the first and most essential way. Modern hearing aids can store significantly more power into a much smaller space than their earlier predecessors.

And a number of sophisticated developments come with increased power:

  • Selective amplification: Hearing loss does not manifest through all wavelengths and frequencies equally. Maybe you have a more difficult time hearing high-frequency sounds (or vice versa). Modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only those sounds that you are unable to hear very well, resulting in a much more efficient hearing aid.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Contemporary hearing aids can now connect to all of your Bluetooth devices. This can be very helpful every day. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have aggravating feedback when you would try to talk on the telephone. With contemporary hearing aids, you can just connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. You will also use Bluetooth connectivity to take part in a variety of other electronic activities. Because there isn’t any interference or feedback, it’s easier to watch TV, listen to music–you name it.
  • Speech recognition: The ultimate objective, for most hearing aid users, is to assist in communication. Some hearing aids, then, have integrated speech recognition software developed to isolate and amplify voices mainly–from a busy restaurant to an echo-y meeting hall, this feature comes in handy in many scenarios.
  • Health monitoring: State-of-the-art Health tracking software is also integrated into 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 such as how many steps that you have taken.
  • Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are constructed from high tech materials. These new materials enable hearing aids to be lighter and more robust 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 represent long-distance communication, older hearing aids no longer capture what these devices are. Hearing aids have changed a lot. And we should be excited because they’re a lot better than they were.

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