Q&A: When were the first affordable hearing implants for the legitimately deaf?

Question by Brian Kory: When were the first affordable hearing implants for the legitimately deaf?
Actually, could some one please give me a history of hearing aids/ accessories? Just a brief history would be appreciated, thank you.

Best answer:

Answer by Shivers
There’s no one answer for this. If you want to get really detailed, earhorns (like the ones used by Beethoven) were hearing aids. They channeled sound into a person’s ear canal, making things a little more understandable. Generally, the current defenition of a hearing aid is an electronic device. Those were first invented and experimented with in the 1930s, where they were large belt packs leading up to speakers in the ear. The units gradually got smaller, moving from belt packs to shirt-pocket size. In the 1960s, people built hearing aids into eyeglasses, with a small tube running into the ear. At the same time, hearing aids started to become small enough that people with milder losses could use behind-the-ear (BTE) types (the stereotypical gray block with a tube and an earpiece leading into the ear), then in the late 1980s and early 90s, various sizes of in-the-ear aids started to take the place of BTEs, with the help of digital signal processing to eliminate whistling and feeding back. In the 2000s, there’s several varieties of hearing aid that are completely open, with no need for custom fitting earpieces, since the digital processing can eliminate nearly all feedback.

Cochlear implantation (CI) for the completely immeasurably deaf was first attempted in 1957, but wasn’t very succesful. Sounds are limited by technology, since the ear naturally has tens of thousands of receptor cells, and even the most advanced CI on the market today only has 22 filaments. Sound through a CI is described as being robotic, and people have to re-train themselves to understand the vastly different speech sounds. As of today, there are maybe 200,000 people worldwide with cochlear implants.

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