When this man shows off his hearing aid collection, there is no doubt to the advancements in comfort and portability of the new hearing aids compared to the old ones. This certain expert considers hearing aids to be both a hobby and a business venture. In 1941, he started his business by collecting the earliest hearing devices, which were no longer in use, deemed ancient in comparison to the contemporary ones of that time.
He has collected about 30 different machines, but there are two in particular that will blow you away. He has an old time set of bell type dry cell batteries that are very large and heavy, and he sets them down beside a tiny, round object that is about the size of a dress shirt's button. He then goes on to explain that the smaller battery is better and more efficient than the older, bigger batteries. Women of the early 1920s, were able to carry their hearing aids in a small leather case, that could be hung from their corset, and undetectable beneath their skirts, thanks to the diminished size of batteries by this time. It was easier for men, who were able to wear their hearing aid batteries on their belts or slip them into hip pockets. The way to wear the transmitter was to pin it to the inside of the clothing, while a cord connected the battery to it.
There is hardly nothing to the hearing aids of today, as they are tiny, light as a feather, and easily hidden from view. There were even some models that could secretly be attached to eyeglass frames. Those type of hearing aids were known as carbon diaphragms. Much greater comfort in wearing a hearing aid as well as more powerful batteries and a smaller size were the results which arose from the development of the vacuum tube circuit in 1938 and transistor circuits in 1965.
The best advancements in the hearing aid design have been over the last few years. Hearing aids now use tiny, button sized batteries that are strong enough to work for an entire week, so the heavy cords are a memory. As long as there have been hearing problems, there have been people who use hearing aids; in the 19th Century people would use the giant horn that you see on cartoons, with the bell being aimed at the speaker and the smaller end intended to go in the hearing impaired person's ear.
There was one invention that was perfect for women of that time because they started a hairstyle of wrapping the hair in buns around their ears. Her idea was to cover her small celluloid trumpet with her own hair clippings and wear it as a bun, an idea which really caught on with others. Also in the collection is a tortoise shell combination of trumpet and lorgnette, and a cup type made of decorative mother of pearl. But because they were more conspicuous on them and easier to spot, men were not as apt to use hearing aids.
It was at the time of his retirement, that this hearing expert decided that he should find a new hobby that could occupy his time, when he decided that hearing aids were interesting. His previous 15 years had been spent in the employment of a big seed house in the East, acting as a horticultural consultant. What he really wanted was to have a business of his very own. He said no one would hire him since he was 40 years old, and he wanted to do something to benefit society as a whole. So he went to New York to study. It's easy to take for granted the ability to hear, and hard to know what effect it has on our relationships. There are lifelong effects on one's physical and mental health when deafness is a problem, as well as deep psychological and emotional problems which may develop.
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