Hearing aids, past and present, have the same basic function: to increase the volume of sound for the impaired user. This technology has improved to the point that most hearing aids are undetectable to the outside observer. This is different compared to earlier devices,modern hearing aid technology has progressed from simple amplifying tools to digital hearing aids.

The 1600s & 1700s

During this time period, hearing “trumpets” were the basic form of hearing assistance Wide at one end, and narrow at the other, they gathered sound and amplified it into the user’s ear. Early hearing trumpets were made from animal horn, sea shell or glass, but later, metals such as copper and brass were used.


During the 1800s, hearing aids were designed to be decorative accessories, rather than large cumbersome devices. Integrated into collars, head wear, hairstyles and facial hair, they were sometimes covered in flesh-colored or hair-colored enamel.
Alongside of the decorative hearing devices, ear tubes were also introduced at this time. One end was held to the speaker's mouth, and the other end was placed directly to the listener's ear. These devices were not subtle, but they were quite effective.


Electricity and the development of the telephone revolutionized hearing aids. The popular device in this era was a large box consisting of a microphone, a battery and speakers was worn around the user’s neck to amplify sound. Luckily, the sizes of batteries began diminishing, and the sizes of hearing aids drastically reduced.
By the 1990s, hearing aid programs could now be customized to a user's lifestyle. With the development of digital circuits, sound could be amplified, reduced, filtered, and directed, as needed.

Modern Hearing Aids

Today’s hearing aids are smaller, lighter and more powerful than ever before. Most fit on the tip of a finger, and some models - inside of the ear canal- are invisible to the naked eye. They can automatically adapt to new surroundings, and with certain accessories, the newest hearing aids can connect wirelessly to phones, televisions, stereos and other devices.

To learn more about your modern day hearing aid options, visit Athens Hearing & Balance Clinic. We’ve been providing patients in Athens and Monroe Georgia quality hearing aids and professional , compassionate service since 2003.