The following article is written by Sophie Davidson in collaboration with Hidden Hearing. -Ed.
Hearing aids have been around for centuries, but they weren’t always as high-tech and sophisticated as the ones now available. While horn-style devices were popular back in the 1800s, the first electrical hearing aid was created in 1898, which led to hybrid aids using combined digital and analogue circuitry being patented in 1977. Digital signal processing chips also revolutionised the hearing aid industry and these days you only have to visit a site like Hidden Hearing to see sleek inner ear models that offer those with hearing impairments a more discreet alternative.
Technology has greatly enhanced the hearing aid world, but what’s next? Here are five bits of future hearing technology we might expect to see over the coming years:
Currently at clinical trial stage, the ear-lens could soon be a common form of treatment for those with hearing problems. Essentially, it’s a transducer mounted on the eardrum that receives a laser signal from the external part of the aid mounted behind the ear. The transducer converts the laser signal into a physical vibration on the eardrum itself and has a much wider frequency range than many of the more conventional hearing devices.