Woman wearing hearing aids climbing hill with family and laughing at a joke.

Have you utilized your ear trumpet lately? No? You don’t use one? Because that technology is centuries old. Okay, I suppose that seems logical. Ear trumpets are a bit… antiquated.

The fundamental shape of the modern hearing aid was designed in the 1950s. And that old style hearing aid tends to be the one we generally remember and think of. The trouble is that a hearing aid developed in the 1950s is just about as antiquated as an ear trumpet. We need to really advance our thinking if we want to get an accurate picture of how much better modern hearing aids are.

Hearing Aids, Then And Now

In order to better recognize just how advanced hearing aids have become, it’s useful 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 proof that these wooden, ear-shaped artifacts were actually effective).

The first partially helpful hearing assistance apparatus was probably the ear trumpet. This construct was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. You would put the narrow end inside your ear so that the wide end pointed out. Nowadays, you wouldn’t think of this device as high tech, but back then they actually provided some assistance.

The real revolution came once electricity was invited to the party. In the 1950s the hearing aid as we know it was created. In order to work properly, they made use of large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a rather basic design. But these devices signify the birth of a hearing aid that could easily be worn and concealed. The hearing aids of the 1950s may have looked comparable to modern hearing aids but the technology and capability is worlds apart.

Hearing Aid’s Modern Features

Modern hearing aids are a technological masterpieces, to put it bluntly. And they’re always developing. In a number of powerful 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 simple: power. Modern hearing aids can pack substantially more power into a much smaller area than their earlier predecessors.

And with that improved power comes a large number of innovative advances:

  • Bluetooth connectivity: Contemporary hearing aids are now able to communicate with all of your Bluetooth devices. You will utilize this function every day. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have annoying feedback when you would attempt to talk on the telephone. When you connect to your phone using Bluetooth, the transition is smooth and communicating is easy. This is true for a wide variety of other situations regarding electronic devices. Because there’s no feedback or interference, it’s easier to lwatch TV, listen to music–you name it.
  • Selective amplification: Hearing loss doesn’t occur across all frequencies and wavelengths equally. Perhaps you have a more difficult time hearing high-frequency sounds (or vice versa). Modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only those sounds that you can’t hear so well, resulting in a much more efficient hearing aid.
  • Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are made of high tech materials. These new materials allow hearing aids to be lighter and more robust simultaneously. And with the addition of long-lasting, rechargeable batteries, it’s easy to see how not only the inside–but the outside–of hearing aids have improved over the years.
  • Speech recognition: For lots of hearing aid users, the supreme objective of these devices is to assist in communication. Some hearing aids, then, have integrated speech recognition software created to isolate and amplify voices primarily–from a busy restaurant to an echo-y meeting hall, this feature comes in handy in many scenarios.
  • Health monitoring: Modern hearing aids are also able to incorporate advanced health monitoring software into their settings. For example, some hearing aids can recognize when you’ve had a fall. Other features can count your steps or give you exercise encouragement.

The older style hearing aids no longer exemplify what hearing aids are, in the same way as rotary phones no longer illustrate what long distance communication looks like. Hearing aids have changed a lot. And we should be excited because they’re substantially better than they used to be.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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