These Are Not Your Grandfather’s Hearing Aids

These Are Not Your Grandfather’s Hearing Aids

If you have not seen or thought about hearing aids since your grandfather wore them, you may be surprised at how much they have changed. Hearing aids like all electronics continue to become smaller and more sophisticated year after year. When I became an audiologist analog hearing aids were being replaced by digital hearing aids and fixed directional microphones were first introduced. Since then, hearing aids have been advancing and changing just as fast as all the other technology in our world. Yet I will occasionally have people ask why hearing aids are so expensive. After all they are “just hearing aids”.

Is Your Cellphone Just a Phone?

Of course, to say that it is just a hearing aid is to say that your latest iPhone is just a mobile phone. The first mobile handheld phone call was made on April 3, 1973. The phone weighted 2.4lbs and measured in at 9x5x1.7 inches. You could talk for a whopping 30 minutes before you needed to charge the phone which took approximately 10 hours!

Is Your Car Just a Car?

To say that it is just a hearing aid is to say that your Mercedes Benz is just a car. The first vehicle to be propelled by an internal combustion engine was the Benz Patent-Motorwagen which was created in 1885. The car reached a top speed of 7mph.

Just a Hearing Aid?

Therefore, to say it is just a hearing aid is to say it is like the first hearing aid which was actually an ear trumpet invented in the 18th century. This was literally a hollowed-out horn of a cow or ram. The horn did not amplify sound but it would help to funnel the sound into the user’s ear.  An actual hearing aid was not invented until the 1920s when the vacuum tube hearing aid was introduced. The components fit into a wooden box that was held up to the user’s ear. Then came the body worn hearing aid in 1938. This consisted of an earpiece attached to a wire, which attached to a box clipped to the user’s clothing, which attached to a battery pack that attached to the user’s leg. I can’t imagine how bad your hearing would need to be to willingly wear something like that. The first behind the ear hearing aid was not developed until 1952. It was analog technology that amplified everything in the environment exactly the same whether it was speech, noise, or wind.

Today’s Hearing Aids Are Much More Than Just a Hearing Aid

Hearing aids today are cosmetically appealing and able to process environmental sounds and speech in a similar way as the brain. The hearing aids are constantly analyzing and categorizing sounds in the environment as speech, music, or noise. This constant ongoing analysis helps the hearing aid user to both hear and enjoy conversations even when other sounds are present.

Hearing aids today are also compatible with a variety of smart phones. Once the hearing aids are paired to the iPhone or Android the hearing aid wearer can stream their phone calls, music, and videos straight to their hearing aids.  Additionally, they can use an App to adjust the volume or sound quality of the hearing aids.

For those who are not smartphone savvy or want even more their hearing aids can be paired with a number of different assistive listening devices. This allows for direct streaming from your computer, TV, or even a remote microphone. Remote microphones are often used with children in the classroom but are also a great option for meetings, conferences, or lectures as they eliminate all distance and background noise delivering the speakers voice directly to the hearing aids.

The vast amount of research that goes into the development of hearing aid technology and design is of course reflected in their price. However, with so many hearing aids available I can find a hearing aid to fit almost any budget. Call today to schedule a hearing aid demo so you can hear what you have been missing.

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