Have you utilized your ear trumpet lately? No? You don’t use one? Because that technology is hundreds of years old. Okay, I suppose that makes sense. Ear trumpets are a bit… antiquated.
The fundamental shape of the modern hearing aid was designed in the 1950s. And for some reason, that’s the hearing aid which has become identified in our collective consciousness. But visualizing a hearing aid like this isn’t accurate because those old hearing aids are antiquated technology. To understand just how much better modern hearing aids are, we have to unshackle our imaginations.
The History of Hearing Aids
In order to better comprehend just how sophisticated hearing aids have become, it’s useful to have some perspective about where they started out. If we follow the history back far enough, you can most likely find some form of hearing assistance device as far back as the 1500s (whether any of them ever really helped you improve your hearing is probably unlikely).
The first moderately effective hearing assistance apparatus was most likely the ear trumpet. This construct was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. The wide end pointed out and the small end was oriented into your ear. These, um, devices weren’t exactly high tech, but they did offer some measurable assistance.
When electricity was introduced, hearing aids experienced a real innovation. The hearing aid that we are familiar with was essentially developed in the 1950s. In order to do their job, they made use of large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a fairly basic design. But these gadgets signify the start of a hearing aid that could easily be worn and concealed. Admittedly, modern hearing aids may share the same form and function as those early 1950s designs–but their performance goes light years beyond what was conceivable 7 decades ago.
Modern Capabilities of Hearing Aids
Bottom line, modern hearing aids are technological masterpieces. And they continue getting better. In a number of significant ways, modern hearing aids have been utilizing the digital technology of the later part of the twentieth century. Power is the first and most essential way. Earlier models contained batteries that had less power in a bigger space than their present counterparts.
And a number of cutting-edge developments come with increased power:
- Selective amplification: Hearing loss does not occur through all frequencies and wavelengths uniformly. Perhaps you have a more difficult time hearing high-frequency sounds (or vice versa). Modern hearing aids are a lot more efficient because they are able to amplify only the frequencies you have a hard time hearing.
- Construction: Modern hearing aids are typically constructed out of advanced materials, so they feel more comfortable. These new materials enable 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 with the addition of long lasting and rechargeable batteries.
- Health monitoring: State-of-the-art Health tracking software is also integrated into modern hearing aid options. For example, some hearing aids can detect whether you’ve had a fall. Other functions can count your steps or give you exercise support.
- Speech recognition: The ultimate goal, for most hearing aid owners, is to assist in communication. Isolating and boosting voices, then, is a primary function of the software of many hearing aids–which can be pretty handy in a wide variety of scenarios, from a crowded restaurant to an echo-y meeting room.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Your hearing aids are now able to connect to other devices using wireless Bluetooth technology. You will use this function on a daily basis. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have aggravating feedback when you would attempt to talk on the telephone. When you connect to your phone via Bluetooth, the transition is simple and communicating is effortless. You will also utilize Bluetooth connectivity to participate in a wide variety of other electronic activities. Because there isn’t any interference or feedback, it’s easier to listen to music, watch TV–you name it.
The old style hearing aids no longer exemplify what hearing aids are, in the same way 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 much better than they used to be.