Over time hearing aids have changed dramatically. As in
everything in this growing world, things are rapidly changing and
becoming more and more advance. Hearing aids are a good example of
one of those things that are becoming more advance in today's world.
When you think about it, hearing aids serve many people throughout
the world and are very essential to some. Hearing aids can serve
people who are elderly and have started to lose some of their
hearing, but they can also serve people who are deaf. Whether they
were born deaf or sometime in their life they became deaf, hearing
aids become an essential to these groups of people. People who are
not deaf or hard of hearing may not realize the importance of
hearing aids. Sometimes people who don’t have problems are immune to
the problems that others may face.
The first hearing aid was developed in 1588 by Giovanni
Battista Porta. The hearing aids were made much differently then
they are today. They were made out of wood and were in the shape of
animal ears. They had a “sharp sense of hearing”. These shaped
animal ear hearing aids were specially designed hearing aids. Other
hearing aids during that time were “horn-shaped trumpets with a
large open piece at one end that collected the sound”. Compared to
today the first hearing aids were a lot bigger. These horn shaped
trumpets were huge, and did not rest easily in the ear like the ones
today. These hearing aids had a tube attaching the funnel end to the
trumpet end, which “funneled the sound into the ear”.
In the late 19th and early 20th century there were two
great inventors by the names of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas
Edison. Without these “two inventors it may not have been possible
for the development of the modern hearing aid”. Their contributions
were very crucial to the development of hearing aids. Bells
contribution was the fact that he “amplified sound in his telephone
using a microphone and battery”, which in turn was the concept that
hearing aid factories used. Edison “changed sounds into electrical
signals that were able to travel through wires and be converted back
into sounds”, this again was used in the first hearing aids.
During the Industrial Revolution is when the “mass
production of hearing aids” began. Throughout time starting in the
1800s many different companies began to create their own type of
hearing aid. In 1920 is when hearing aids acquired vacuum tubes.
Vacuum tubes made it that sound was more efficient, the problem that
hearing aids still had is that their batteries were still huge.
Finally by 1952, the hearing aid was able to be made smaller. This
was the age of the “transistor hearing aids”. These hearing aids now
were designed with a on/off switch that is what helped make them
much smaller. Interestingly these hearing aids were made to “fit
within the frames of eyeglasses”. It wasn’t till later in time that
they were designed to fit behind the ear. Then in the 1990s, this is
when hearing aids went digital. Going digital made sound quality
better and also more adjustable. Not only did they go digital but
they also became programmable. As time continues, hearing aids
change more and more to better adjust themselves for people in the
world today. It’s amazing how you see how much they developed from
years ago to what they are today.
Today there are five different types of hearing aids.
The first type if the ITE (in the ear). This is a hearing aid that
is large and will work well for people who have mild to severe
hearing loss. It sits completely in the bowl of the ear. It is one
of the most visible styles of hearing ais due to its size. The one
good thing this hearing aid has compared to the smaller ones is the
battery lasts longer. The second type of hearing aid is the ITC (in
the canal). This hearing aid will work for mild to moderate hearing
loss. It is designed to fit the ear canal. Due to it’s small size it
is very difficult to adjust it and change it’s battery. The third
type of hearing aid is CIC (completely in the canal). This hearing
aid is for mild to moderate hearing loss. This hearing aid is
smaller then the ITC hearing aid. It is designed to completely fit
in the ear canal. The fourth type of hearing aid is the BTE (behind
the ear). This hearing aid will work for mild to profound. This
hearing aid sits behind the ear. This is also very ideal for
children, due to the fact that it “can accommodate progressive
hearing loss, as well as growth”. The last time of hearing aid is
the BTE (behind the ear open fit). This is the “newer version of the
old BTE”. The difference in this hearing aid from the old BTE is it
helps with the problem of visibility. It also sits behind the ear
but it is so small that you can barely see it.
There is also something called Assistive Listening
Devices or ALDs. The difference is that these will “expand the
functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants by helping
separate the sounds you want to hear from background noise”. It will
also allow you to hear when someone is further away. This type of
device consist of microphone, transmitter, receiver, and many
different listening attachments. This type of listening device in
particular is for people who may have difficulty hearing or
understanding speech in many different places. It is not like
hearing aids that deaf or hard of hearing people use. People who may
be in meetings, movies, public places, etc that may find it
difficult to hear people speak because of back ground noises this
would be useful for.
One other discussion involving hearing aids, is the
difference between “hearing aids” and “hearing aides”. Like
discussed above hearing aids, are specially designed implants that
help people hard of hearing or deaf able to hear people and their
surroundings. Hearing aides are people who help those that are deaf
or hard of hearing. To better explain an aide would be taking an
example of a teachers aide, that is someone who helps a teacher in
the classroom with his or her students. In the case of hearing
aides, that aide would do the same function as in helping a person
but they specialize in deaf or hard of hearing people. They assist
them in their needs.
Hearing aids are very interesting and have really
developed over time. It is amazing how they started with just ideas
and then progressively over time have created so many different
types that are helpful in so many different situations. Over all
hearing aids was a great invention and very essential invention, and
to imagine a world without them would be very difficult. I may not
be deaf, but I could only imagine how difficult it would be for so
many without the invention of hearing aids.
Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2013.
Watson, Stephanie, ed. Discovery. Discovery Communications, n.d.
Web. 26 June 2013.
Assistive Listening Devices. American Academy of Audiology, n.d.
Web. 26 June 2013.
Also see: "HEARING-AID"
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