What do trumpets, telephones and transistor radios have in common? This isn’t a trick question. The technology behind these inventions all inspired advances in hearing aid technology. That’s what we at Celestial Hearing are celebrating during this August’s Technology Celebration Month.
So let’s step into our virtual DeLorean and go back in time…
Making do in the Middle Ages
Welcome to the 12th Century. We’ve got knights, castles and ear trumpets; hollowed out animal horns and seashells held to the ear to amplify sounds.
Over the next 600 years, ear trumpets got fancier in design and materials but were ultimately still large cone or funnel-like objects you had to hold up.
It’s time for a makeover
Those 18th Century inventors sure had a flare for fashion. Hearing aids, still looking rather like trumpets, get the extreme makeover treatment. They’re disguised in hats, headbands, beards and bouffant hairdos.
There is no sign of Grease’s Danny Zuko yet, it’s only the 19th Century. But electricity has been invented and its a game-changer. The telephone has come along too. Combine the two and you get the beginnings of the first electronic hearing aid, the Akouphone.
Prohibition, flappers and the Vactuphone
It is of course, the 1920s. Better batteries and vacuum tube technology meant bye bye Akouphone, hello Vactuphone; a more portable but more fragile kind of hearing aid.
Rock and roll and transistors
The 1950s gave us transistors, switches that flip on and off. Hearings aids are now even smaller and more robust.
Flower power and microprocessors
It’s the free-loving 1970s and hearing aids are a whole lot smaller thanks to the invention of microprocessors.
The digital revolution
Welcome to the 1990s. We’re going digital. Digital signal processing means better sound quality and less distracting noise.
We’ve skipped the anti-climatic Y2K and gotten to the exciting bit: invisible hearing aids. Hearing aids so small, thanks to continued advances in digital technology, that they sit within the ear canal, hidden from view.
Back to the future
Today’s hearing aids are WiFi and Bluetooth enabled so you can connect to all your digital devices but there is more to come: hearing aids small enough to be implanted and run off energy made by your own body, hearing aids guided by your vision so they can tune out sounds you’re not focussing on and perhaps the ultimate leap in technology: no hearing aids at all, but re-grown hair cells.
While you’re waiting for the future to arrive, get the latest in today’s hearing aid technology at Celestial Hearing.
Paula C. Rogers, BC-HIS is a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist and has been helping people to restore and care for their hearing health for over 30 years. You’ll experience the warmth and loving care of Paula and her team who will become your hearing care partners for life at their Las Cruces Hearing Center.