November 14, 2011

Hearing Aid Museum

I recently came across this online hearing aid museum. It is a very interesting and informative site. I think it is fascinating to see how hearing devices evolved over the years.

Did you know that the first electrical hearing aids appeared during the 20th century, thanks to the invention of the carbon microphone?

My favorite section is the Quack Hearing Devices filed under 'Miscellaneous Items'. It contains several devices and instruments that were thought to treat deafness or to help restore hearing using unconventional methods that clearly did not work. One of them was called the Acousticon Massacon from 1903. It created loud vibrations through an ear phone to vibrate the eardrum and the tiny bones, which was thought to help "loosen" up the middle ear. Doesn't this sound lovely?

Here's a picture of the Acousticon Massacon (from the website):


Whenever I have students who complain about their "giant" and "ugly" behind-the-ear hearing aids, I show them this site. At least they don't have to use ridiculous looking ear trumpets or be told to use a large strange looking device to vibrate their ear drums and middle ear bones.

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Link to online hearing aid museum:  http://www.hearingaidmuseum.com/

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