History of hearing aids
The era of original sound collection hearing aids
A few centuries ago, if people’s hearing was difficult, their only option was to help themselves: by simply use one of their hands behind the hearing-impaired ear to amplify the sound.
In London around 1800, F.C. Rein founded the first commercial production company of passive loudspeakers. The company produced hundreds of different hearing aids, most of which were a limited number of sound tubes and loudspeakers.
Carbon element hearing aid
Commercial hearing aids became feasible for the first time in 1899. The product called "Akoulallion" is produced by the American company Akouphone. This desktop hearing aid is mainly made of carbon. It is the size of a table and is priced at US$400. In 1900 this hearing aid was improved and renamed "Akouphone".
The microphone at this stage of 1901 is made of toner, but the effect is not very good.
At this stage, the efficiency of electronic carbon hearing aids is determined by the relative relationship between the microphone and the headset.
Vacuum Electronic Tube hearing aid
The vacuum tube or electron tube was invented by Lee DeForest and was quickly used in broadcasting equipment.
Earl C. Hanson invented the first prototype of a vacuum tube hearing aid, which was patented and produced by a company called Universal.
The first vacuum tube hearing aid was designed by two companies in England, Amplivox and Maltitone. This kind of device needs two batteries to supply power and is limited by the battery life, usually it can only be used for one day. This hearing aid consists of four parts: microphone, earphone (receiver), amplifier and two batteries.
Transistor and integrated circuit hearing aid
With the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs in the United States in Year 1947, the Raytheon Manufacturing Company introduced the "junction transistor" technology in 1952.
The following companies have launched their first transistor hearing aids: Microtone, MAICO (a member of the Oticon group of companies) Unex and Radioear.
The American company Dahlberg launched Miracle Ear, which is their first in-ear device, and may also be the world's first in-ear hearing aid.
A hearing aid distributor from California made a custom hearing aid for his client.
Digital Hearing aid
In the 1980s, integrated circuit technology advanced by leaps and bounds. Many new integrated circuits using "analog sound processing" technology have appeared on the market.
Nanley, Steadman, Wechsler and Spencer reported on the wearable digital hearing aid developed at Audiotone. The digital hearing aid itself includes digital circuits like computers used for sound processing.
The University of Wisconsin and Nicolet Instrument Company conducted a project research that led to the birth of the first truly wearable digital hearing aid: Phoenix.
In the late 1980s, many programmable hearing aids were invented. Digital technology has been applied to hearing aids, bringing about a truly revolutionary era in hearing aids.
Present and Future
After more than a hundred years of ups and downs, today’s hearing aids have various shapes such as invisible hearing aids, in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, glasses type hearing aid, hairpin hearing aid, jewelry hearing, wireless hearing aid, etc., and the hearing aid effect has been significantly improved.
At the current level of development of hearing aids, users with moderate hearing loss have the condition to choose to place the hearing aid deep in the ear canal without being visible, and the size of the hearing aid has been greatly reduced.
Industry professionals are adding different technologies to the hearing aid industry, including charging technology, wireless technology, language education, medical facilities and other technologies in different fields are being integrated, the future development of hearing aids will have unlimited possibilities.