Hearing Aids Ain’t What They Were in The Past – They’re Better

Woman wearing hearing aids climbing hill with family and laughing at a joke.

Have you utilized your ear trumpet lately? No? You don’t have one? Because that technology is hundreds of years old. Okay, I suppose that seems logical. Ear trumpets are a bit… archaic.

The modern(ish) hearing aid, it turns out, was introduced during the 1950s–the basic shape, that is. And that old model hearing aid is generally the one we remember and envision. But visualizing a hearing aid in this way isn’t realistic because those old hearing aids are antiquated technology. We need to really expand our thinking if we want to understand how much better modern hearing aids are.

Hearing Aids, Then And Now

It’s useful to have some perspective about where hearing aids started to be able to better perceive how advanced they have become. If we trace the history back far enough, you can likely find some type of hearing assistance device as far back as the 1500s (whether any of them ever actually helped you improve your hearing is probably unlikely).

The first somewhat effective hearing assistance device was probably the ear trumpet. This device appeared to be an elongated trumpet. The wide end pointed out and the small end was put inside your ear. Today, you wouldn’t think of this device as high tech, but back then they actually offer some assistance.

The real revolution came when electricity was invited to the party. The hearing aid as we now know it was really developed in the 1950s. In order to perform their function, they used large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a fairly rudimentary design. But a hearing aid that could be easily worn and hidden began with these devices. Admittedly, modern hearing aids might share the same form and function as those early 1950s models–but their performance goes light years beyond what was conceivable 7 decades ago.

Modern Features of Hearing Aids

Modern hearing aids are a technological masterpieces, to put it plainly. And they’re always developing. In many powerful ways, modern hearing aids have been using the digital technology of the later twentieth century. Power is the first and most crucial way. Earlier models had batteries that had less power in a bigger space than their present counterparts.

And a long list of sophisticated developments come with increased power:

  • Selective amplification: Hearing loss doesn’t manifest through all frequencies and wavelengths equally. Maybe low frequency noise gets lost (or vice versa). Contemporary hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only those sounds that you are unable to hear very well, producing a much more effective hearing aid.
  • Speech recognition: For countless hearing aid owners, the ultimate goal of these devices is to assist in communication. Some hearing aids, then, have built-in speech recognition software developed to isolate and boost voices mainly–from a crowded restaurant to an echo-y board room, this feature is useful in many scenarios.
  • Health monitoring: State-of-the-art Health tracking software is also integrated into modern hearing aid choices. For example, some hearing aids can recognize whether you’ve had a fall. There are others that can notify you about your fitness goals like how many steps that you have taken.
  • Construction: Modern hearing aids are usually made of advanced materials, so they feel more comfortable. These new materials allow hearing aids to be lighter and more heavy-duty simultaneously. 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: Contemporary hearing aids can now communicate with all of your Bluetooth devices. This can be amazingly helpful on a daily basis. Old style hearing aids, for instance, would have annoying feedback when you would try to talk on the phone. When you connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth, the transition is simple and communicating is effortless. This is true for a wide range of other scenarios regarding electronic devices. This means quick, feedback free connection to your music, TV, etc.

The old style hearing aids no longer exemplify what hearing aids are, just as rotary phones no longer capture what long distance communication looks like. Hearing aids have changed a lot. And we should be excited because they’re a lot better than they used to be.

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