Hearing aids—a timeline over the ages

A timeline of hearing technology over the ages

Hearing technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past 150 years.

Long gone are the funnel-shaped ear trumpets. Made of sheet metal, wood, snail shells or animal horns, these awkward and unbecoming devices used the most basic principles to collect sound waves to feed into the ear.

Modern hearing aids these days can be completely invisible to the naked eye, waterproof and rechargeable. Cutting edge technology has led to devices becoming smaller and less conspicuous.

The first technical solution for hearing loss was developed by Siemens in 1878. It was a telephone receiver with substantially improved transmission quality, which allowed people with hearing impairments to understand conversations better.

In 1911, the first hearing devices for the hearing impaired were introduced, and by 1913 the first serial production of hearing aids started.

It was another two decades before the first wearable hearing aid was developed. It was made in 1938 by Aurex Corp, an electronics manufacturer based in Chicago. Pocket-based versions of the hearing aid started to appear in the market in the late 1940s.

By the late 1950s, ‘behind-the-ear’ hearing technology hit the market, with ‘in-the-ear’ technology appearing in the marketplace in the 1960s.

The next major development in hearing technology occurred in 1978, when Australian Graeme Clark implanted the nation’s first cochlear. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic devices that help people who are profoundly deaf or hard of hearing.

Digital hearing technology took off in the 1990s and, over the next decade, multiple microphones were introduced to the fold. Hearing aids became more durable in 2011, when waterproof, dustproof and shock resistant devices were introduced.

Modern hearing aids available these days are commonly divided into two types – discreet hearing aids that hide behind the ear and customised hearing aids that fit snugly within the ear.

If you would like to find out more about hearing aids, feel free to contact Hearing Help at 1800 740 301.
Qualified audiologists are available to chat online or over the telephone to answer your hearing-related questions.

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