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History and future of hearing aids

With the recent introduction of near invisible hearing aids into our product line-up, we felt it was necessary to provide some background around just how far hearing aid technology has evolved. And, we also felt you might like to see what the future may or may not have to offer.

So, here is our history and future of hearing aids infographic. We hope you enjoy it and if you do, please let others know by embedding it on your own website or sharing it via Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Pinterest.

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history future infographic

History and Potential Future of Hearing Aids The hearing aid has been helping the hearing-impaired to some degree for over 200 years, although needless to say the technology is developing at an increasingly-faster rate.

Ear horns were the first true hearing aid, although these were essentially just a large funnel to help capture sound and direct it to the ear canal. It wasn't until 1898 when the first electronic hearing aid was produced, followed by the vacuum-tube hearing aid in the 1920s. Both amplified sound using technology similar to that found in the telephone, but unfortunately to be portable they required batteries, and at the time these were large, heavy and expensive.

In the 1950s the transistor opened up a whole new world of opportunity for hearing aid manufacture; aids using transistors could be much smaller than those using vacuum tubes and - importantly - used much less battery power. It was in the 1970s and 1980s however that things really took off, as microprocessors vastly increased the amount of amplification a hearing aid could produce. Year by year, processor by processor, these devices became smaller and more advanced with some in-the-ear hearing aids now being invisible.

Looking to the future, there are many exciting possibilities in hearing aid design. Scientists are currently working on projects including laser-signalled hearing aids with a larger frequency range, as well as permanent in-ear hearing aids which never have to be removed because they use induction charging rather than batteries. Then there are the theoretical possibilities of being able to regenerate damaged parts of the inner ear using stem cells - there are plenty of exciting developments to come!

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<img src="http://www.amplifon.co.uk/media/397660/history-future-of-hearing-aids.png" alt="The history and future of hearing aids" /><p style="margin:6px 0 12px; text-align:center; width:500px; font-family:Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:10px;">Infographic by <a href="http://www.amplifon.co.uk/">Amplifon</a>