The first portable hearing aid with vacuum tube technology went on sale in England in 1936 and a year later in the United States. In the 1930s, hearing aids became popular with the public. Multitone of London patented the first hearing aid to use automatic gain control. The first electric hearing aid was invented in 1898 by Miller Reese Hutchison.
He used an electric current to amplify the sounds. The design itself was a carbon transmitter, which allowed the device to be portable. However, the first mass-produced hearing aids were too cumbersome and not as portable. For centuries, it was a common assumption that people with hearing loss had other disabilities, so they were often discriminated against.
These transistor aids were an easy replacement for vacuum aids, as they were lighter, used less battery power, were less fragile and created less heat than their predecessors. Prolonged exposure combined with a natural decline, led him to need a hearing aid, which in 1997 was already almost invisible. As early as the 13th century, people with hearing loss used hollowed horns of animals such as cows and rams as primitive hearing devices. Doctors and scientists throughout history have come up with some creative, interesting and useful advances to help people throughout history with their hearing.
The history of hearing aids has evolved so quickly that it is sometimes difficult to remember the rudimentary fundamentals on which they originated. The first hearing aid was designed thanks to the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, which included technology that could control volume, frequency and sound distortion. Improvements in technology continued in 1938, when the first truly portable hearing aid was introduced. Edgar Villchur, a researcher, took this invention and went even further to ensure better hearing for those who needed it.
In the 1920s, hearing aids began to use vacuum tubes, which allowed sound to be amplified up to 70 decibels. Users would then hold a receiver connected to this box up to their ear so they could hear well. Although the exact dates are still quite ambiguous, ear trumpets were one of the only forms of auditory amplification from around 1700 to the middle of the 19th century. These headphones were designed to be hidden, under hats and hairstyles, or in the form of an ornate headband.
Starting in the 1920s, headphones with vacuum tubes could increase the sound level up to 70 dB.