When and where was hearing aids developed?

In 1898, Miller Reese Hutchison created the first electric hearing aid. As early as the 13th century, people with hearing loss used hollowed horns of animals, such as cows and rams, as primitive hearing devices. It wasn't until the 18th century that the best ear trumpet was invented. With a funnel-shaped design, ear trumpets were man's first attempt to invent a device to treat hearing loss.

However, they did not amplify the sound, but instead worked by picking up the sound and channeling it through a narrow tube to the ear. Bulky, these ear trumpets and later speaking tubes didn't work quite well. A prime device was the stethoscope, invented in France in 1816 by René Laennec at the Necker Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris. It consisted of a wooden tube and was monaural.

Laennec invented the stethoscope because he didn't feel comfortable placing his ear directly on a woman's chest to hear her heart. Not only that, but it was a simple and intelligent way to improve the hearing of the various chest noises during breathing (Figure. The first electric hearing aid was invented in 1898 by Miller Reese Hutchison. He used an electric current to amplify the sounds.

The design itself was a carbon transmitter, which allowed the device to be portable. However, the first mass-produced hearing aids were too cumbersome and not as portable. Telephone technology led to the invention of the first electronic hearing aids. With the invention of the telephone, man had learned to control the volume and frequency of sounds, as well as their transmission.

Rein also sold hearing aids and speech tubes, devices that helped amplify sounds while remaining portable. The so-called “ear trumpet” is considered to be the first attempt to improve hearing by “channeling sound into the ear”. Then, in the 1980s, more were experienced, culminating in Nicolet Corporation's first all-digital hearing aid in 1987.The digital component could be programmed by connecting the device to an external computer in the laboratory and then disconnecting it to allow the hybrid device to function as a conventional portable hearing aid. As research continues, there is no doubt that technology will only continue to improve and will continue to make life a little easier for the millions of people around the world living with hearing loss.

When a family member was diagnosed with diabetes more than seven years ago, as an audiologist, I tried to find information related to hearing problems associated with diabetes. One of the first manufacturers of electronically amplified hearing aids was the company Siemens in 1913.Along with these advancements, the emergence of new options, such as hearing amplifiers and PSAP (personal sound amplification products), offer the consumer an even wider range of hearing aid options with different capabilities. Until the 16th century, it was commonly accepted that people with hearing loss also suffered from multiple other disabilities, leading to them being severely discriminated against. As they can significantly improve the hearing of many people, they tend to be the preferred solution for those diagnosed with hearing loss.

In 1898, Miller Reese Hutchison of Alabama used the technology to create the first electric hearing aid. Edgar Villchur, a researcher, took this invention and went even further to ensure better hearing for those who needed it. This would greatly aid the continuous process of miniaturization and would mean that the hearing aids could be worn almost completely, either in and behind the ear or on a pair of glasses. People with hearing loss quickly realized that they could hear a better conversation through the telephone headset that came close to the ear than in person.

The switch to smaller, more discreet hearing aids finally began in 1948, when Bell Telephone Laboratories invented the transistor. It is recorded that the horns of hollowed animals were used as early as the 13th century, and Giovanni Battista Porta in his Magia Naturalis mentions wooden devices designed to imitate the ears of animals known for their acute hearing in 1588. .