The Evolution Of Hearing Aid Design: A Blend Of Fashion And Function

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The hearing aid has come a long way since its infant stages back in the late 1800’s when the akouphone, the first electric hearing aid, was invented. The early 20th century witnessed a slow evolution in the style, size, and effectiveness of hearing aids. Initially, the first portable electric hearing aids were bulky and conspicuous. Hearing assisted device technology has come a long way since, however. What once was worrisomely conspicuous is now often barely noticeable.

 

The Evolution

Great efforts over the last century have been made to reduce the size of hearing aids. Reasons for this have primarily been out of consideration for people’s sensitivities to the observability of their disabilities. It has also been out of a need for increasing comfort for the hearing aid wearer.

Throughout the 20th-century hearing aids were mostly bulky and uncomfortable, and slow to evolve. What once began as ear trumpets, became vacuum tube technology driven aids, then transistor hearing aids, and finally digital aids of the 1990’s. Since then, digital aids have become increasingly smaller and more efficient.

 

Like Any Other Technology

The need for inconspicuousness seems to not be as important as it once was, especially now that technology, in general, is increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. What once was a hindrance that many wearers felt very self-conscious about is now becoming just as commonplace as every other technological device worn on our person, like Bluetooth phone receivers, headphones, and smartwatches.

And while design has always been a part of the hearing aid evolution, the focus has traditionally been on utility. Lately though, the aesthetic components of the hearing aid are beginning to become an important part of the selection process among consumers who are less concerned with visibility and more concerned with a making a statement.

 

A Tool For Self Expression

Seeing different styles and customization in hearing aids is becoming increasingly common nowadays. While still a majority of people choose to wear hearing aids that best match their own skin pigment, or come in a neutral enough color, more and more people are beginning to choose colorful options.

Even the smallest hearing aids can have design elements that are as individual as the person wearing it. Whether they are decked out in bright colors, cool metal-like lines, or adorned with hearing aid jewelry, wearing a hearing aid can often be a vehicle for self-expression.

This should come as no surprise, since we all live in an age where social acceptance and celebration of diversity is emphasized more within our education system and societal constructs. Where once disabilities were hidden at all costs, they are now more acknowledged and supported in the public sphere.

 

Children’s Expression

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of changing perceptions about hearing aids is within the child hearing impaired community. Often children with significant hearing loss have been helped by cochlear implants. The tradeoff, however, is the size and conspicuousness of the device’s external component.

Adorning these devices with fun, lively colors and patterns, even popular children’s characters, can help make these devices a topic of fun conversation instead of a source of self-consciousness. The conversation becomes about the hearing aid instead of the hearing disability. For more information about the hearing aid options we have available, contact our office today.

 

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