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The Evolution Of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are not what they once used to be but the stigma surrounding them still exists. Learn about how hearing aids have changed over the years.

Many people are afraid that a hearing aid will be bulky or noticeable, but the reality is that modern hearing aids are tiny.

The very first hearing devices, however, were impossible to miss. These earliest hearing aids were known as ear trumpets (those horns you see people holding up to their ears in old movies) and they were used from about the 1600s. They worked in essentially the same way cupping your hand to your ear works, by amplifying and focusing sound waves.

Electronic hearing aids

The first electronic hearing aids, invented in the late 1800s, were called carbon microphones. They were so big, you needed a carrying case to lug them around. As a result, they weren’t very popular, and ear trumpets were still in use well into the 1920s. Things improved with the introduction of electronic vacuum-tube hearing aids that you could carry in your pocket, with a small attachment that would be inserted into the ear.

Hearing aids in the modern era

Modern in-ear hearing aids without any extra attachments really came into vogue after the 1950s. From the 1950s to the 1980s, they used transistors to help amplify sound, but now we live in the digital era. Today’s hearing aids can be programmed to filter out certain types of noise, and to adjust the volume of the output for quiet or loud noises. There are even ’93smart’94 hearing aids that can connect wirelessly to your TV or computer. The range of hearing loss that can be helped with hearing aids has also increased. Most models help those with mild to moderate hearing loss, but there are a number of other types that can assist those with severe hearing loss.

The trend of hearing aids growing smaller and smaller continues. Many modern hearing aids are designed so that they’re almost invisible. You might know someone who wears one and not even realize it! One of the most common types of hearing aid is the behind-the-ear model, where a piece sits behind the ear with a small tube connecting to a receiver worn inside the ear canal. Other models range from ones that fit completely or partially inside the canal, to the more familiar type that fits inside the ear itself.

Hearing aids are for anyone who’s having trouble hearing, even those with mild hearing loss. If you think you may need a hearing test in Calgary, contact us at Soundwave Hearing Care. For hearing tests in Edmonton or Calgary, call or email us today.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.