An Introduction to Hearing Aids
by: Ross Bainbridge
Hearings aids have been around for centuries, in some form or another. They have provided relief for older people who have lost the ability to hear as clearly as when they were younger. Hearing aids also assist people who may have a hearing problem because of underlying medical issues. Hearing aids have a rich history, and have truly seen amazing advances over the past two centuries.
The first version of a hearing aid was invented in the early 1500Ã¯Â¿Â½s. These early devices were crafted from wood and designed to look like the ears of animals known for excellent auditory perception. It was not until 1800, however, that hearing aids became a consumer product. Manufacturers then created trumpet hearing aids, but they only produced them on a very small scale. By the end of the 19th century, hearing aids were mass produced and very large in size. The first well-known product was a tabletop model and cost somewhere in the $400 range. Obviously, only the affluent in society could afford the model during this period.
Hearing aids amplify sounds, especially voice and speech, effectively so that the person has a better sense of what is being said to them. Although hearing aids have seen tremendous transformations over the years, the concept has remained the same. Most hearing aids still utilize basic principles to help the hard-of-hearing.
The three basic components of a hearing aid are microphone, amplifier and the receiver. The microphone serves as the reception device that captures sound waves. The microphone is responsible for taking auditory sounds (sounds that humans can hear) and converting them into electronic sounds that are detected by the amplifier. The amplifier takes the sounds transmitted from the microphone and makes them louder. Hearing aids are often designed for specific hearing needs; this is because amplifiers can Ã¯Â¿Â½chooseÃ¯Â¿Â½ which sounds to augment. In modern hearing aids, precision amplifiers often eliminate background noise. The receiver simply serves as a speaker function and converts sound waves from auditory to electronic.
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