When was the last time you utilized that old ear trumpet? No? You don’t have one? Because that technology is hundreds of years old. Okay, I suppose that makes sense. Ear trumpets are a bit… archaic.
The basic shape of the modern hearing aid was designed in the 1950s. And somehow, that’s the hearing aid which has become established in our collective consciousness. The problem is that a hearing aid made in the 1950s is just about as antiquated as a hearing trumpet. We need to really advance our thinking if we want to understand how much better modern hearing aids are.
Hearing Aids, Then And Now
It’s helpful to have some perspective concerning where hearing aids started in order to better comprehend how sophisticated they have become. As far back as the 1500s, you can come across some form of hearing aid (though, there’s no proof that these wooden, ear-shaped artifacts were actually effective).
The “ear trumpet” was most likely the first partially effective hearing assistance apparatus. This construct was shaped like, well, a long trumpet. The wide end faced the world and the small end was oriented inside your ear. These, um, devices were not exactly high tech, but they did provide some measurable assistance.
The real revolution came once someone invited electricity to the party. The hearing aid that we are familiar with was really created in the 1950s. In order to do their job, 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 might have appeared comparable to modern hearing aids but the technology and functionality is worlds apart.
Modern Capabilities of Hearing Aids
Bottom line, modern hearing aids are technological masterpieces. And they continue getting better. In a number of powerful ways, modern hearing aids have been utilizing the digital technology of the later part of the twentieth century. The first, and the most essential way, is simple: power. Modern hearing aids can store substantially more power into a much smaller area than their earlier predecessors.
And with that improved power comes a long list of sophisticated advances:
- Health monitoring: Modern hearing aids are also able to incorporate sophisticated health tracking software into their options. if you have a fall, for instance, some hearing aids can detect that. Other features can count your steps or give you exercise motivation.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Your hearing aids are now able to connect to other devices using wireless Bluetooth technology. This can be extremely helpful on a daily basis. As an example, hearing aids used to have a hard time dealing with telephone calls because users would experience considerable (and sometimes uncomfortable) feedback. With modern hearing aids, you can just connect to your cellphone via Bluetooth connectivity and never miss a call. You will also utilize Bluetooth functions to participate in a variety of other electronic activities. This means simple, feedback free connection to your TV, music, etc.
- Speech recognition: For many hearing aid owners, the supreme objective of these devices is to enable communication. Separating and boosting voices, then, is a principal function of the software of many hearing aids–which can be pretty useful in a wide variety of situations, from a packed restaurant to an echo-y board room.
- Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are made of advanced materials. These new materials permit hearing aids to be lighter and more robust at the same time. It’s easy to see how hearing aids have advanced on the outside as well as the inside by adding long lasting and rechargeable batteries.
- Selective amplification: Hearing loss usually manifests as loss of specific frequencies and wavelengths of sound. Maybe you have a harder time hearing high-frequency noises (or vice versa). Modern hearing aids are far more effective because they are able to amplify only the frequencies you have a hard time hearing.
The old style hearing aids no longer represent what hearing aids are, in the same way as rotary phones no longer capture what long distance communication looks like. Hearing aids have changed a lot. And that’s a good thing–because now they’re even better.