hearing aids

A Brief History of Hearing Aids

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
A Brief History of Hearing Aids

The hearing aids that you can find today in Nano’s store are a far cry from the very first hearing aids that were invented more than two centuries ago. In this post we are going to take a look at the hearing aids history, so you can understand how they have evolved.

17th Century: Trumpet Hearing Aids

The very first kind of hearing aid that was invented back in the 17th century was referred to as an ‘ear trumpet’. These antique hearing aids were designed to help the partially deaf hear better and became very popular near the end of the century, with famous composers thought to be among its users. Different models were available on a one-off basis from various instrument makers, and commercial production started in 1800 in London.

1898s: First Electric Hearing Aids

After decades of the ear trumpet proving that devices to assist with hearing were a much-needed item in society, the first electric hearing aid was invented in 1898. This was known as an akouphone, and with its smaller size and use of electrical currents, it was certainly a huge leap forward in assisting those who needed hearing assistance in a more non-conspicuous way.

In the 1920s, a hearing aid called the vactuphone came about, and while this vintage hearing aids were a big improvement compared to the akuophone, it was still bulky and expensive, making it out of reach for many.

1950s: Transistor Hearing Aids

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the first in-ear and behind ear hearing aids that ran off simple batteries were invented. While people still needed to carry a small box everywhere they went, the transistor hearing aids of this era were incredibly important for the future of hearing aid advancements.

1960s-1970s: Analog Hearing Aids

Transistor hearing aids were a real breakthrough in the 50s, but there were still complaints that they weren’t small enough and they weren’t easy to hide. Analog hearing aids came along in the 60s and 70s and included a microphone that transformed sound into a current which was then amplified through a receiver or speaker into the ear canal.

Thanks to their more discreet design and only using a small disposable battery, analog hearing aids made using the devices more appealing to those suffering from hearing loss. They were also much more affordable than models of previous decades and are actually still sought after today.

2000s: Digital Hearing Aids

The late 20th and early 21st century has seen huge technology advancements in a lot of different everyday items that we use, and hearing aids are no exception. While you’ll still find analog hearing aids on the market, digital hearing aids like the ones we sell here at Nano provide so much more to those who need assistance with their hearing.

Digital hearing aids are ideal for anyone who feel embarrassed by using devices that stand out and make them look different, and they come in over-ear, behind the ear, or deep in the canal models. This newer generation of devices can adapt to different environments for optimum clarity, and even come in rechargeable models.

The products available to those who suffer from forms of hearing loss has certainly come a long way over the last century. To find out more about the excellent hearing aids that Nano Advanced Hearing Technology has to offer, click here.


Frequently Asked Question:

Q. Who Invented the Hearing Aid?
Miller Reese Hutchison first invented hearing aids back in 1898. Later in 1913, the very first hearing aids were manufactured commercially.

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