The transformation of hearing aids over the years has been a long road. From horns to hidden devices in purses to extremely discreet aids that use smart technology that will blow your mind. In this article, we’re going to take you on the journey from the first hearing aid models right up until now to show you how far the technology has come to help you hear the world around you.
Earliest Models – Transmitters
Back before digital technology ever existed, the earliest hearing aids were made out of hollowed out animal horns. They worked by capturing sound in the larger end and transmitting it to the ear at the smaller end. It was simple but not very effective. Then in the 17th century, the ear trumpet was developed, which was a step up from the animal horns but not much different in design and function. However, this paved the way for acoustic devices, which became increasingly popular when they were designed to be worn concealed in the hair, in purses, and could amplify the sound to the ear directly or by way of a chord.
Big and Bold Hearing Aids
The next wave of hearing aids were vacuum tube hearing aids that used large batteries that you had to hang around your neck. These also required holding up a microphone to hear – just imagine! They were far from discreet when they first came out, but as time went on, more camouflaged options were developed. For instance, decorative pins could conceal the microphone, and the batteries could be hidden well within a purse.
Transistors Paved The Way
No one knew that the invention of the transistor used in telephones would eventually change the way hearing aids were used forever. This new technology allowed hearing aids to be made much smaller and also worn on the body. The first designs were originally incorporated into sunglasses that would amplify sound directly into the ear. Then as the technology progressed, behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) models started to take shape. It wasn’t really until the late 50’s that we started to see hearing aids that are similar to what we use today.
The Rise Of Digital Hearing Aids
The development of digital signal processing chips was a technological breakthrough. It made digital hearing aids possible, which first came onto the scene in the 1980s. Amplification of sound was greatly improved, however, they were still quite heavy and bulky. It wasn’t until 1996 that the first all-digital hearing aid was created that hearing aids became convenient and effective.
The Wave of Smart Hearing Aid Devices
Today’s hearing aids are incredibly smart. They can be programmed, automatically react and regulate the surrounding sound, and some can even learn your habits to help you hear better. In fact, just like eyeglasses, they can be tailored specifically to your hearing needs. They’re also much smaller and can be easily hidden right inside your ear so no one will know that you’re even wearing them. The batteries are also tiny compared to earlier models, and some come with rechargeable batteries that can be charged while you sleep. Best of all, they are now Bluetooth® compatible so that you can connect them directly to your cell phone, smart TV, or computer. You can even control your hearing aids now through apps on your phone – technology is really incredible these days!
The Number of Instruments Has Greatly Increased
Back in the day, there were only a few models and brands to choose from. Today, there are thousands of different hearing aids, making it much easier to find the best make and model to fit your budget and lifestyle.
Today’s Hearing Aids Are More Accessible
Hearing aids were once only available to the affluent. But today, there are many financial assistance options that can help you get the hearing aids you need and pay them off as you can. Costs also range quite drastically, so there’s always going to be something in your budget range.
At Robillard Hearing Centres, we make sure that everyone who needs hearing aids can get the best model for their lifestyle – regardless of their budget. We offer no-interest payment plans that require no payments for one full year. All of our hearing aids also come with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and in-house service warranty that will ensure that you are covered in the case of defects or damage. So if you need a new hearing aid or are just starting the process, come visit us at Robillard Hearing Centres, and we’ll find the perfect solution for you. Contact us to learn more about all of our hearing services.