Circa 1820

King Goa 4th of Portugal has a throne made where people speak into the lion-shaped arms and their voices are amplified through a tube which runs through the chair to the king’s head.  Started a bit of a trend among the high and mighty.

Mid-1800s

The invention of the Clarvox Lorgnette trumpet in France. This lightweight ear trumpet was made of tortoiseshell and hung down from one side of a pair of spectacles.

1899

Miller Reese Hutchison patents first practical electrical hearing aid.  Not that convenient – so large it had to sit on a table handily placed beside the user.

1920s

Vacuum tubes introduced, but battery size still made them awkward for anyone who had to move at all during the course of their everyday lives.

1933

The invention of the Bone Conductor. USP: sent sound through the bone behind the ear.  Pros: Ace name.  Cons: Caused massive headaches.

1952

Thanks to the invention of the transistor in 1948, transistor hearing aids hit the scene.  Sonophone even designed some petite models which could sit on your spectacles.

1960s

Over-the-ear or Behind-the-ear aids became available.  The first of this group were known as at-the-ear hearing aids because they were visible, protruding slightly as they did, but the later versions were increasingly more and more the products of better design for easy concealment.

1990s

Digitalisation of the hearing aid.

21st Century

Lyric hearing aids provide the next step in audiology.