Hearing aids are a result of innovations from around the world.
Hearing aids have a long history dating back to the ear trumpets in the 18th century which were commercially manufactured in London in 1800 by Frederick C Rein.
But history shows that in the late 1800’s an acoustic horn which was a tube with two ends, and a cone to capture sound became popular as it was made to fit in the ear – the first hidden hearing aid. Rein continued his quest for hidden hearing aids with aids being hidden in couches, clothing and accessories.
The hearing aids that we think of today are the small electronic devices seen in the image above, and their initial design was developed on the back of telephone and microphone technology of the 1870’s and 1880’s.
The first electric hearing aid was created in Alabama USA IN 1898 by Miller Reese Hutchinson, an American electrical engineer, who created it for a friend who was deaf from scarlet fever. It had a carbon transmitter which meant that it was portable. The transmitter could amplify sound by taking a weak signal and used an electric current to make a strong signal.
The Siemens company was one of the first companies to manufacture electronically amplified hearing aids.
However, it was the creation of the microprocessor that started the true miniaturisation if the digital hearing aid. Further to this, Edgar Villchur from New York, USA developed an analog multi-channel amplitude compression device to allow load sounds to be less amplified and weak sounds to be more amplified. This system would be used as the fundamental structural design for the first hearing aids to use digital technology.
There are now several key manufacturers and developers of hearing aids worldwide, who constantly seek to innovate hearing aids for improved hearing but also to enable interaction with the digital world around us with Bluetooth connectivity and smart phones as key drivers for these changes.
Steven Hale Hearing has access to all major hearing aid brands and ensures that his customers are well advised in the innovations and improvements to upcoming technology.