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How Has Hearing Aid Tech Evolved?

The year 2016 has provided exciting new innovations in hearing aid technology that differ from those made even a year before. Learn more about the history of hearing aids in this week’s Audicus blog!

 

As long as there have been humans there has been hearing loss, and throughout the centuries people have designed different forms of technology to help combat hearing impairment.

Early Hearing Aid Tech

 

Hearing aids were first documented in a 1588 book called Natural Magick. People would carve wood into the shapes of animal ears, specifically animals that were thought to possess a better sense of hearing than humans.

 

Hearing aid trumpets prevailed in the 17th and 18th century. One end of the apparatus was wide to collect sound, while the other end was narrow to channel the captured sound, amplified, into the user’s ear. Although glass, sea shells and animal horns were starting materials for these trumpets, they were later made out of copper and other metals.

 

In the 1800’s hearing aids were integrated as fashion accessories, and were assimilated into hair styles and clothes. Interestingly enough, this fad reemerges 200 years later.

 

The invention of electricity drastically changed newer versions of hearing aid technology. Hearing aids now involved a carbon microphone and battery. These devices were worn around the neck and usually had a battery life of only a few hours.

 

The creation of the transistor in the 1950’s led to further improvements in hearing aid technology, as hearing aids were able to be made less bulky. Silicon transistors allowed developers to make hearing aids even smaller. Digital hearing aid technology was the dominant form of hearing aid technology in the mid-1990s.

 

Hearing Aid Microsystems, Wireless Hearing Aids and Hearables  

 

In 2014 researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft designed hearing aid microsystems.  These hearing aid devices have the dimensions of 4x4x1 millimeters, making them less than one-sixth of an inch long. Because of their small size these microsystems consume much less energy than the hearing aids of the mid-1990s and are much less conspicuous.

 

Hearing aids that use Bluetooth wireless technology receive wireless signaling from other Bluetooth enabled devices. Users are able to tune into televisions, laptops or other devices that use audio signals. Bluetooth helps to eliminate background noises that would normally make listening more difficult for people that rely on hearing aid devices.

 

Hearables refer to hearing aid technology as well as other forms of technology that rely on direct auditory transmission to the ear. The fast-evolving hearable industry promises to create hearing aids with even more functions, as well as technology that might even replace hearing aids.

 

For example, Here earbuds are miniature speakers that can adjust the volume you experience in your external environment. Here One earbuds can sync with an iPhone, receive calls, use Siri and play music.

 

These new innovations in hearing aid technology not only provide users with higher-quality products, they also help to eliminate the stigma that is normally associated with using hearing aids.

 

Sources: Beltone

By: Aaron Rodriques

3 responses to “How Has Hearing Aid Tech Evolved?

  1. I would be very interested in exactly how I can set up bluetooth to connect directly to my hearing aids and to my the Smart TV and my iPhone. Please advise in detail. Thank you.

    1. Hi Andrew! Our customer service team would be happy to help you connect your Audicus hearing aids to your television. You can give them a call at (855) 971 – 0451.

  2. Thank you for your past hearing aid history article. I had a sudden hearing loss in March 2016 to my right ear. This happened after I attended a rodeo concert, held in a huge stadium, which the volume was extremely loud. I have attended the rodeo annually for the past thirty years. Never before in the past have I experienced the music concert at this level. It only lasted 1 1/2 hours and then inside fireworks as the finale. Thank God I left before the fireworks,due to the loud music making my ears so uncomfortable! Three days later I could barely hear the person talking ,in the passenger side of my vehicle, my right ear, while taking them to the airport. I thought, I must have ear wax in my ear and need to clean it out. Well, after doing this for the next week or so I realized it was not getting any better. I looked up sudden hearing loss online and it said to see a doctor immediately if someone has had this happen! I called for a ENT apt but they couldn’t see me for five days,three weeks after concert. When the doctor saw me he said that after a sudden hearing loss there is only a month window, to do treatment, to try to restore the hearing. It was a very serious medical emergency. I didn’t even know hearing could go out suddenly, unless extreme trauma had happened to the ear. Well,now I know loud music can cause sudden hearing loss. The treatments, steroid injections into middle ear, times two, did not improve my hearing. My doctor said it might have not been done soon enough. I had never heard of sudden hearing loss ever and I’m a retired nurse! Now I’m dealing with the hearing aid world , thank you Jesus, to help me hear! The aid I’ve received on my insurance, Widex 110, doesn’t have a volume control,which I would think they all should have ,and at least some adjustable programs. There, I’m learning, are many technical advances recently in this field recently. I am very disappointed in this industry and the cost of a decent hearing aid ,but I’m extremely grateful my insurance has hearing benefits. Everyone should know about sudden hearing loss! God bless, Linda

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