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

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

The basic shape of the modern hearing aid was designed in the 1950s. And for some reason, that’s the hearing aid which has become established in our collective consciousness. But visualizing a hearing aid like this isn’t realistic because those old hearing aids are antiquated technology. To understand just how much better modern hearing aids are, we have to unshackle our imaginations.

Hearing Aids, Then And Now

In order to better comprehend just how advanced hearing aids have become, it’s helpful to have some perspective about where they started out. As far back as the 1500s, you can come across some type of hearing aid (whether any of them ever really helped you hear better is still up for debate).

The first somewhat successful hearing assistance device was most likely the ear trumpet. This device appeared to be a long horn. The wide end faced the world and the small end was directed inside your ear. At present, you wouldn’t consider this device high tech, but back then they actually provided some assistance.

The real innovation came once someone invited electricity to the party. In the 1950s the hearing aid as we know it was developed. In order to perform their function, they made use of large old fashioned style batteries and transistors in a quite basic design. But these gadgets represent the start of a hearing aid that could be easily worn and hidden. The hearing aids of the 1950s might have looked similar to modern hearing aids but the technology and capability is worlds apart.

Hearing Aid’s Modern Capabilities

Bottom line, modern hearing aids are technological wonders. And they continue getting better. In several 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. Earlier models contained batteries which had less power in a bigger space than their modern counterparts.

And with that greater power comes a large number of sophisticated advances:

  • Speech recognition: For lots of hearing aid users, the biggest goal of these devices is to enable communication. Many hearing aids, then, have integrated speech recognition software created to isolate and amplify voices mainly–from a crowded restaurant to an echo-y board room, this feature is useful in many scenarios.
  • Health monitoring: Contemporary hearing aids are also capable of incorporating innovative health tracking software into their settings. if you fall, for example, some hearing aids can recognize that. There are other features that can keep you informed about your fitness goals like how many steps that you have taken.
  • Selective amplification: Hearing loss doesn’t occur across all wavelengths and frequencies uniformly. Perhaps low frequency noise is hard to hear (or vice versa). Contemporary hearing aids can be programmed to boost only those sounds that you are unable to hear very well, resulting in a much more effective hearing aid.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Modern hearing aids can now connect to all of your Bluetooth devices. You will utilize this function every day. Older hearing aids, for instance, would have irritating 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 effortless. This is true for a wide variety of other scenarios regarding electronic devices. Because there isn’t any feedback or interference, it’s easier to listen to music, watch TV–you name it.
  • Construction: Modern hearing aids feel more comfortable because they are made of advanced materials. While these new materials allow hearing aids to be more comfortable, it also allows them to be more heavy-duty. It’s easy to see how hearing aids have improved on the outside as well as the inside with the addition of long lasting and rechargeable batteries.

Just like rotary phones no longer represent long-distance communication, older hearing aids no longer capture what these devices are. Hearing aids aren’t what they used to be. And that’s a positive thing–because now they’re even better.

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