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Hearing Device – Some History Many people associate a hearing device with hearing aids. However, different kinds of hearing devices have been developed and refined over hundreds of years. Here is a brief rundown. The first known hearing devices were developed in the late 1500’s. They were made of wood and shaped like ears from animals known for their acute sense of hearing. Around 1670, hearing trumpets were developed which helps to direct sound into the ears. The first ones were made of glass although other models were produced in metals like copper and brass. During the 18th century, it was discovered that sounds could be transmitted through bone vibration of the skull. This is known as bone conduction. A number of different devices were developed over this period which utilized bone conduction. During the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, ear trumpets were further refined. During this time period, the first commercial venture to produce non electric hearing aids came into being. The company was called FC Rein and they remained in business until 1963. This company produced hearing trumpets, acoustic urns, and speaking tubes for churches. Ear trumpets and bone conduction devices were further refined during the 1800’s. The first patent for a hearing aid was granted in 1855. Hearing aids began to be manufactured by several companies beginning in the late 1800’s. Some of these companies are still in existence today. The first electric hearing device was introduced in 1898. It carried a very high price but it had superior features and performance for the time. Hearing devices continued to be refined over the next hundred years. Significant technical refinements occurred from solid state circuitry and miniaturization of critical components. The hearing devices of today are far different than ones developed hundreds of years ago. Yet they were all aimed at helping the hearing impaired to lead better lives.

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