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 seems logical. Ear trumpets are a bit… antiquated.
The modern(ish) hearing aid, it turns out, was developed during the 1950s–the basic shape, that is. And somehow, that’s the hearing aid which has become identified in our collective consciousness. But thinking of a hearing aid in this way isn’t realistic because those old hearing aids are out-dated technology. We need to really expand our thinking if we want to recognize how much more advanced modern hearing aids are.
The History of Hearing Aids
It’s helpful to have some context concerning where hearing aids started so that you can better perceive how sophisticated they have become. As far back as the 1500s, it’s possible to come across some type of hearing aid (though, there’s no confirmation that these wooden, ear-shaped items were actually effective).
The first somewhat successful hearing assistance apparatus was most likely the ear trumpet. This device was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. The wide end faced the world and the small end was directed inside your ear. Nowadays, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually provided some assistance.
When electricity was introduced, hearing aids experienced a significant revolution. In the 1950s the hearing aid that we are all familiar with was developed. They were quite basic, relying on transistors and large, antiquated batteries to effectively work. But these devices signify the birth of a hearing aid that could be easily worn and concealed. Of course, modern hearing aids may share the same form and function as those early 1950s designs–but their functionality goes far beyond what was conceivable 70 years ago.
Hearing Aid’s Modern Capabilities
Simply put, modern hearing aids are technological masterpieces. And they’re constantly developing. In a number of significant ways, modern hearing aids have been taking advantage of the digital technology of the later part of the twentieth century. Power is the first and most essential way. Modern hearing aids can pack significantly more power into a much smaller area than their earlier predecessors.
And with that greater power comes a long list of innovative advances:
- Selective amplification: Hearing loss doesn’t occur through all wavelengths and frequencies equally. Perhaps low frequency sound is hard to hear (or vice versa). Modern hearing aids are much more efficient because they can boost only the frequencies you have a hard time hearing.
- Health monitoring: Sophisticated Health monitoring software is also integrated into modern hearing aid options. if you fall, for example, some hearing aids can detect that. Other features can count your steps or give you exercise support.
- Speech recognition: The biggest goal, for most hearing aid owners, is to enhance communication. Some hearing aids, then, have built-in speech recognition software created to isolate and boost voices primarily–which can be pretty handy in a wide variety of scenarios, from a packed restaurant to an echo-y board room.
- Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are made of high tech materials. These new materials allow 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.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Modern hearing aids can now communicate with all of your Bluetooth devices. You will utilize this function on a daily basis. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have aggravating feedback when you would attempt to talk on the phone. With modern hearing aids, you can simply connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. This is true for a wide range of other situations involving electronic devices. Because there isn’t any interference or feedback, it’s easier to listen to music, watch TV–you name it.
The older style hearing aids no longer represent what hearing aids are, in the same way as rotary phones no longer illustrate what long distance communication looks like. Hearing aids aren’t what they used to be. And we should be excited because they’re substantially better than they were.