When was the last time you utilized that old ear trumpet? No? You don’t have one? Because that technology is centuries old. Okay, I suppose that seems logical. Ear trumpets are a bit… antiquated.
The basic shape of the modern hearing aid was designed in the 1950s. And that old model hearing aid tends to be the one we generally remember and picture. The problem is that a hearing aid made in the 1950s is just about as out-dated as an ear trumpet. We need to really advance our thinking if we want to recognize how much more advanced modern hearing aids are.
The History of Hearing Aids
To be able to better recognize just how sophisticated hearing aids have become, it’s helpful to have some perspective about where they started out. As far back as the 1500s, it’s possible to find some type of hearing aid (though, there’s no evidence that these wooden, ear-shaped items were actually effective).
The first moderately successful hearing assistance apparatus was most likely the ear trumpet. This device looked like an elongated horn. The wide end pointed out and the narrow end was put into your ear. At present, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually offer some help.
When electricity was introduced, hearing aids went through a significant innovation. In the 1950s the hearing aid that we are all familiar with was created. In order to perform their function, they relied on large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a fairly rudimentary design. But these gadgets represent the birth of a hearing aid that could easily be worn and hidden. The hearing aids of the 1950s might have looked comparable to modern hearing aids but the technology and functionality is worlds apart.
Hearing Aid’s Modern Capabilities
Modern hearing aids are a technological masterpieces, to put it bluntly. And they keep getting better. In a number of significant ways, modern hearing aids have been taking advantage of the digital technology of the later twentieth century. The first, and the most essential way, is straight forward: power. Modern hearing aids can store considerably more power into a much smaller space than their earlier forerunners.
And a number of sophisticated advances come with greater power:
- Speech recognition: The biggest objective, for many hearing aid owners, is to facilitate communication. Separating and amplifying voices, then, is a principal feature of the software of many hearing aids–from a crowded restaurant to an echo-y board room, this feature comes in handy in many scenarios.
- Health monitoring: Modern hearing aids are also able to incorporate sophisticated health tracking software into their settings. For instance, some hearing aids can detect whether you’ve fallen. There are other functions that can inform you about your fitness goals like how many steps that you’ve taken.
- Selective amplification: Hearing loss usually manifests as loss of certain wavelengths and frequencies of sound. Maybe low frequency sound is hard to hear (or vice versa). Contemporary hearing aids can be programmed to boost only those sounds that you are unable to hear very well, producing a much more effective hearing aid.
- Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are constructed from advanced materials. These new materials enable hearing aids to be lighter and more heavy-duty simultaneously. And by adding long-lasting, rechargeable batteries, it’s easy to see how not just the inside–but the outside–of hearing aids have advanced over the years.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Your hearing aids are now able to connect to other devices using wireless Bluetooth technology. This can be very helpful every day. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have irritating feedback when you would attempt to talk on the telephone. With modern hearing aids, you can just connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. You will also utilize Bluetooth connectivity to engage in a wide range of other electronic activities. Because there’s no interference or feedback, it’s easier to listen to music, watch TV–you name it.
Just like rotary phones no longer represent long-distance communication, the hearing aids of old no longer represent what these devices are. Hearing aids aren’t what they once were. And that’s a positive thing–because now they’re even better.