For millions of people around the world, hearing loss is a very personal struggle. Not being able to hear family members or enjoy music when it is being played can take a toll on your life. That is why we, as a society, have put such an emphasis on hearing aid and technology to help them. With such an incredible use of technology looking to happen in the future, it is a good idea to look at the long and storied history of the hearing devices.
Vacuum Hearing Aids
Before the hearing aids that used electricity or digital displays, there were the vacuum forms of hearing devices. They were a mixture of radio and phone parts used by Bell Labs in order to make a functional hearing aid. The sound would be received by the actual intake port of a phone and would then be processed in the vacuum chamber. This would also translate the sound into electric pulses which would then allow the sound to be amplified. Then, the sound would be pumped out at a high volume, allowing the person to hear. This box was only seven pounds, which let it be taken on the go with the user, and was one of the first amplification hearing aids.
Carbon Form Hearing Aids
Another one of the types of hearing aids that was produced in the early to mid 20th century was the carbon hearing aid. This device would direct sound into a microphone which was filled with carbon filaments. The carbon would be drawn across the magnetic base depending on the amount of initial sound generation. Then, it would land against a diaphragm which would allow the person to hear this noise at a high rate. This was not a very good hearing device, but it was incredibly important because it was one of the first to use technology to aid hearing.
However, it was not able to amplify sound and was bound to the house because it weighed a great deal. Still, it was a very valuable invention for its time.
The very first form of hearing device that was generated for use was the hearing trumpet. This was a very rudimentary device that used a large end and a small end of a metal tube to improve hearing. The smaller end would be pressed against the ear while the larger end would be pointed towards the individuals or sound that was wanted. This was very simple, but also very effective. This form of hearing aid device was used for over a millennium, but also showed that people needed to do better for hearing impairment.