When was the last time you used that old ear trumpet? No? You don’t use one? Because that technology is hundreds of years old. Okay, I suppose that seems logical. Ear trumpets are a bit… archaic.
The fundamental shape of the modern hearing aid was developed in the 1950s. And that old style hearing aid tends to be the one we generally remember and envision. But visualizing a hearing aid in this way isn’t accurate because those old hearing aids are out-dated technology. To comprehend just how much better modern hearing aids are, we have to unshackle our imaginations.
Hearing Aids, Then And Now
In order to better comprehend just how sophisticated hearing aids have become, it’s helpful to have some perspective about where they began. As far back as the 1500s, you can find some form of hearing aid (whether any of them ever actually helped you improve your hearing is probably unlikely).
The first somewhat effective hearing assistance device was most likely the ear trumpet. This device looked like an elongated horn. The wide end pointed out and the small end was directed into your ear. Nowadays, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually provided some assistance.
The real revolution came when electricity was invited to the party. The hearing aid that we are familiar with was essentially developed in the 1950s. They were fairly basic, relying on transistors and large, antiquated batteries to get the job done. But a hearing aid that could be easily worn and hidden began with these devices. Admittedly, modern hearing aids may share the same form and mission as those early 1950s models–but their functionality goes far beyond what was conceivable 7 decades ago.
Hearing Aid’s Modern Capabilities
Modern hearing aids are a technological masterpieces, to put it bluntly. And they continue getting better. Since the late twentieth century, modern hearing aids have been taking advantage of digital technologies in some significant ways. The first, and the most crucial way, is straight forward: power. Modern hearing aids can pack substantially more power into a much smaller space than their earlier forerunners.
And a long list of cutting-edge advances come with greater power:
- Selective amplification: Hearing loss usually occurs as loss of specific frequencies and wavelengths of sound. Maybe you have a harder time hearing high-frequency noises (or vice versa). Contemporary hearing aids can be programmed to boost only those sounds that you are unable to hear so well, producing a much more efficient hearing aid.
- Speech recognition: For many hearing aid owners, the biggest goal of these devices is to assist in communication. Isolating and amplifying voices, then, is a principal feature of the software of many hearing aids–from a busy restaurant to an echo-y meeting hall, this feature comes in handy in many scenarios.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Your hearing aids can now connect to other devices via wireless Bluetooth technology. This can be extremely helpful every day. Old style hearing aids, for example, would have annoying feedback when you would try to talk on the phone. With contemporary hearing aids, you can just connect to your cellphone using Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. You will also utilize Bluetooth functions to take part in a wide variety of other electronic activities. Because there isn’t any feedback or interference, it’s easier to watch TV, listen to music–you name it.
- Health monitoring: Sophisticated Health monitoring software is also included in modern hearing aid choices. For instance, some hearing aids can recognize when you’ve had a fall. There are others that can keep you informed about your fitness goals such as how many steps that you’ve taken.
- Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are made of advanced materials. While these new materials enable hearing aids to be more comfortable, it also allows them to be more robust. 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.
Just as rotary phones no longer exemplify long-distance communication, older hearing aids no longer capture what these devices are. Hearing aids aren’t what they once were. And that’s a positive thing–because now they’re even better.