Hearing Blog

Notable Hearing Aids From History

  • By Pacific Hearing Care
  • 28 Mar, 2017
small hearing aid offered at Pacific Hearing Care

Today, hearing aids are so commonplace that we don't realize how truly incredible they are. Thousands of people who have struggled to hear can now once again hear music, television, and the familiar voices of their loved ones.

But hearing aids weren't always as sleek as today's devices. History gives us a few notable examples of hearing aids that were as unique as they were inventive.

1. Beethoven's Ear Trumpets

During his life, famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven tried to find a solution for his hearing loss. In 1813, he asked Johann Nepomuk Malzel to produce ear trumpets for him.

An ear trumpet looks how its name implies: it's a funnel connected to a tube. Users place the end of the funnel in their ears, and the sound travels through the funnel into their ears.

Beethoven's ear trumpets were made from metal. However, earlier ear trumpets were made of animal horns, glass, and even sea shells.

Unfortunately, Beethoven's ear trumpets did not help him as much as he had hoped, and he struggled with hearing loss his entire life. Today they are on display at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, a museum in Bonn, Germany.

2. The King of Portugal's Throne

Perhaps the most unique hidden hearing aid was an acoustic throne. It was designed by Frederick C. Rein for John VI of Portugal in 1819.

The chair captured sound through devices hidden in the chair's arms. The arms were carved to look like lions, and the sound would enter through the lions' open mouths. The sound then traveled through a speaking tube. The king could hear the amplified sound through an opening near his ear.

Thus, when the king's subjects kneeled before the throne and spoke to him, he could hear exactly what they were saying without the subjects realizing he used hearing aids.

3. Headband Hearing Aids

Like the King of Portugal, most 1800s hearing-aid users wanted to hide their hearing aids. 

This desire led Frederick C. Rein to invent acoustic headbands called Aurolese Phones. They were shaped like headbands, so users could hide them in their hair or under a hat. Amplifying devices sat at the ends of each headband near the user's ears.

Similar hearing aids were designed to hide within clothing, accessories, and furniture.

4. Eyeglass Hearing Aids

Another subtle type of early hearing aid was hidden in the users' eyeglasses. Manufacturers built transistors into the frames of the eyeglasses to amplify the sound.

Eyeglass hearing aids were first used in the United States in the 1950s. They soon took over 50 percent of the hearing-aid market, according to the Bernard Becker Medical Library.

One of the most popular models was the Beltone Classic, eyeglasses with five transistors built into the frame.

5. Transistor-Radio Hearing Aids

In the 1960s, another ingenious invention was a hearing aid disguised as a transistor radio. By holding the radio and wearing earphones, users looked like they were simply listening to the radio rather than using a hearing aid.

6. Today's Hearing Aids

Today's hearing aids are built to be less noticeable and more comfortable than hearing aids of the past. Modern technology has allowed for hearing aids that are small, powerful, and customizable.

Modern hearing aids have many benefits that past hearing aids did not. Today's devices can process wireless sound from smart phones and computers. Modern hearing aids can even adjust their settings automatically depending on the environment.

Hearing aids have come a long way from horns inserted in the ear. To find the right hearing aids for your situation, visit  Pacific Hearing Care . We carry a wide variety of hearings aids that are both advanced and affordable.

Hearing Blog

By Pacific Hearing Care 28 Mar, 2017
By Pacific Hearing Care 13 Mar, 2017

Many people watch their grandparents and parents experience hearing loss as they age. When they start to notice symptoms of hearing loss in themselves, they begin to wonder about what the future holds.

Experiencing hearing loss can be unsettling and even frightening. Learning more about age-related hearing loss can help patients understand this health condition and how to manage it. Let's examine the answers to three of patients' most common questions.

1. What Causes Age-Related Hearing Loss?

We can hear thanks to hair cells in our ears that capture sound waves. Unfortunately, these hair cells are among the many parts of the body that can decline as we age. As they get older, many people's hair cells become damaged or even die, causing permanent hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can become increasingly worse over time.

Some people are more likely to lose their hearing than others. Genetics are one of the most common reasons to lose hearing, so if your parents lost their hearing, you likely will, too.

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is very common. It's the second most common medical condition in older adults. In fact, about one in three Americans between ages 65 and 74 experience hearing loss.

2. Can It Be Prevented?

Genetic-related hearing loss can't be prevented. However, there are other factors that may contribute to hearing loss. These factors include frequent exposure to loud noise, smoking, and certain diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Certain medications, including some chemotherapy drugs and excessive amounts of aspirin, can also cause hearing loss.

If you work in a loud environment around noisy machinery, take precautions to protect your hearing. You can wear ear plugs or other devices that dampen sound. You should also avoid loud rock concerts if possible.

Quitting smoking and living a healthy lifestyle may also help you prevent age-related hearing loss. If you take medications that cause hearing loss, talk to your doctor about a possible adjustment to your treatment plan.

Be aware that some types of hearing loss aren't necessarily related to age. Otosclerosis is a disease that affects the middle ear. Meniere's disease and autoimmune inner ear disease also affect the inner ear. If you notice symptoms like sudden hearing loss, dizziness, or ringing in the ear, see an audiologist for diagnosis and treatment.

3. Can It Be Cured?

Unfortunately, age-related hearing loss cannot be reversed. But it can be treated.

The most common solution is a hearing aid, an amplifying device that fits in or behind your ear. Some people feel embarrassed to wear hearing aids because they believe it calls attention to their hearing loss. However, modern hearing aids are much less noticeable than hearing aids in the past. Some hearing aids fit directly in your ear canal, so other people won't even know it's there.

If you would like to try hearing aids, see a hearing care specialist. He or she can test your hearing and fit you with your preferred hearing aids.

A variety of assistive listening devices can also improve your quality of life. For example, there are devices that amplify the sound of your phone or your television.

More aggressive medical solutions include cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing systems. These devices improve your ability to register sound, but they are only prescribed for people with severe hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss can occur gradually, so you might not notice it's happening at first. If you struggle to hear during conversations or find yourself turning up the TV or radio volume more than usual, see a hearing specialist.  He or she can help you find the right hearing solutions for you.

By Pacific Hearing Care 30 Jan, 2017
By Pacific Hearing Care 11 Jan, 2017
When you start to lose your hearing, suddenly a simple phone call or conversation becomes intimidating. Hearing aids are your first source of
help, but is there anywhere else you can turn?

Today, there are many apps that can support hearing aids and make your life easier. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Phonak RemoteControl App

With this app, you can control the volume, settings, and other features of your Phonak Venture and Belong hearing aids. It's compatible with both Android and iOS. It also has a demonstration mode so you can learn exactly how it works.

2. Siemens touchControl

Have you ever wanted to control your hearing at the touch of a button? With the touchControl app, you can easily control your Siemens hearing
aids. You can adjust the volume and even adjust the bass or treble of what you hear.

3. Signia easyTek

Like Siemens touchControl, Signia easyTek allows you to adjust your hearing aids through your smartphone. This makes controlling your hearing aids simple and subtle, especially during social situations. When you use your smartphone to control your hearing aids, other people will assume you're just checking your phone.

4. ReSound Smart App

Do you wish your hearing aids adjusted to fit your current surroundings? They can with the ReSound smart app. The app comes with different
settings, such as "restaurant" and "outdoor." You can set your hearing aids to fit these settings so you can tune out sounds you don't want to hear. Plus, when you listen to music or radio, you can set the media at a different volume than other sounds. You can also locate missing hearing aids through this app.

5. Oticon ON

The Oticon ON app can control more than your hearing aids themselves. It can also control other devices through your hearing aids. For
example, you can set your lights to turn off when you turn your hearing aids off. You could even set your hearing aids to let you know when
someone knocks on your door.

6. Widex Com-Dex

With the Widex Com-Dex, you can control your hearing aid settings from your smartphone or smart watch. You can also stream music through
your hearing aids. You can even answer calls through your hearing aids so you can easily hear the person on the other side of the line.

7. TruLink Hearing Control

TruLink Hearing Control learns to adjust your hearing aid settings based on where you are. It allows you to change settings when you're in a new
location, and it saves those settings for when you return to that location. It also streams music from your iPhone or iPad and reads emails and
texts to you through your hearing aids.

8. Relax by Starkey

Many people with hearing loss also deal with tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. This app helps relieve tinnitus by playing soothing sounds at your
desired volume and frequency. Available sounds include rainforest, ocean waves, and babbling brook. The sounds can play through your hearing aids or through ear buds.

9. miniTek Remote App

Like other hearing aid remote apps, the miniTek allows you to control your hearing aid from your smartphone. It also allows you to connect to
audio devices like MP3 players, laptops, TVs, and even game consoles. This makes the miniTek Remote App a great choice for teens and
anyone who uses several different technological devices.

Not only do these apps improve your hearing experience, but they also help you do things you couldn't do without them, such as adjust
background noise and control other devices. Talk to a hearing aid supplier for help choosing and downloading these apps.
By Pacific Hearing Care 27 Aug, 2016
Have you ever had a problem that you tried to ignore? Perhaps you wanted to deny its existence, or you just didn’t have time to deal with it at the moment. Many people experiencing hearing loss have those feelings about their hearing changes, so it becomes a sensitive subject to discuss.

Talking to loved ones about hearing loss can be a daunting task. To help you understand how to support loved ones experiencing hearing loss, we’ll cover some basic tips below. As you learn more about the best ways to approach your loved ones, you’ll be able to help them seek assessment and treatment.
By Pacific Hearing Care 27 Aug, 2016

You might associate hearing loss with getting older, and this condition does often happen to people once they reach a certain age. But more importantly, experts have found a link between hearing loss and dementia in the elderly across the US, including those who live in Hawaii.

According to recent research, scientists have found that hearing loss and changes in the brain are directly correlated.
By Pacific Hearing Care 27 Aug, 2016
Age-related hearing loss is incredibly widespread. In fact, at least one third of all American adults between 65 and 75 have at least partially lost their hearing, and the number increases to half of all adults over 75.

In spite of the facts and statistics, though, it's easy to feel alone and isolated when you start to experience hearing loss. Losing one of your senses can make you feel cut off from the rest of the world. You could struggle to talk on the phone, understand what your loved ones are saying, or watch your favorite films and TV shows.

Devices like hearing aids can restore a lot of your former hearing, so if you experience hearing loss, the first step you should take is to visit a doctor and purchase a reliable set of hearing aids. Apart from investing in this key medical device, take the following steps to reconnect with the world around you. Age-related hearing loss doesn't have to isolate you when you apply these tips.
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