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Hearing Aid Basics

Ahearing aid is an electro-acoustic device. It is designed to, whenfitted behind (and into) the wearer's ear, amplify as well asmodulate the sounds the wearer would normally hear.

Todaythere are many different types of hearing aids (a.k.a. hearinginstruments), and this article will go into reasonable detail of aselected range of those, but it should previously be noted that thefirst of hearing aids were passive ones. These were called "eartrumpets" (or even "ear horns") and they werefunnel-like amplification cones which gathered sound energy andredirected it to the wearer's ear canal.

Somesimilar devices would be the bone anchored hearing aid and thecochlear implant.

So who invented thehearing aid?

Nosingle person could be credited with the invention of the hearingaid. This is most likely because its creation was not of a singleinstance, but was rather an evolution and leaned upon previouslyexisting devices of the sort.

However,it is well known that one of the first electric hearing aids wasAkoulaton, and that it was manufactured by Miller Reese Hutchingon in1898.

Hutchson's Device

Hisoriginal hearing aid was sold in 1901 by the Akaphone Company. Thedevice was simply used to increase and amplify sound. It also requireda carbon transmitter and a telephone in order to perform its task.

Thislittle inconvenience was overcome by the 1920s invention of thetransistor, which then took the place of the carbon transmitter.

What were the earliestof hearing aids?

Hutchinson'shearing aid was the first electric solution of the problem, but therewere other hearing aids available long before his device's invention.As it was previously noted these were most likely horns, trumpets andsimilar passive objects which were used to gather and focus soundenergy, and thus amplify its volume.

Thesepassive devices were later transformed into transistor, radio-likedevices. The first of which were quite bulky and heavy anduncomfortable since they had to be worn around the entire wearer'sbody.

Thetrumpets themselves were shaped similar to funnel cones. Sound wasconcentrated in the funnel. These models were later on swept out ofuse by bone anchor hearing aids.

What are the differenttypes of hearing aids?

Ever since the invention of Hutchson's hearing aid, the consequentialevolutionary steps of the hearing aid have produced all types, shapesand sizes.

BellsLabs research invented the model which had to be worn around thewearer's body.

Fletcher(whom is also often credited for the invention of the hearing aid),later created a model which was molded according to the wearer's ear.The amplifiers were stored inside the mold itself, and the ear moldswere linked by a cord.

Alot of modern hearing aids have feedback control and other obvious functions. They may also be wireless and custom made.

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