“Audiology,” as we know it today, is a relatively new doctoring profession. Our understanding of the human auditory system, and the methods we use to combat its deterioration, are intimately intertwined with the history of technology. As industrialization and global conflict progressively introduced new levels of noise into the modern world, we rapidly developed tools to mitigate its consequences.
Though texts as old as the ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus describe “hearing treatments” like pouring olive oil, ant eggs, bat wings, and goat urine into the ears of patients, modern audiology doesn’t really begin until just before the 21st century. Around 1895, an engineer named Miller Reese Hutchison developed what he called the “akouphone,” essentially the first electric hearing aid, a bulky device used to amplify audio signals. This design was iterated upon in the across the coming decades by a number of scientists and manufacturers, until the first vacuum-tube design was developed by a Naval engineer named Earl Hanson in 1920. From then on, these primitive hearing aids steadily got smaller and more powerful.
Still, these devices didn’t much enter the public consciousness until around 1940, when soldiers began returning from WWII with severe hearing loss spurred by the deafening theater of war. Suddenly, there were millions of individuals in need of a device to restore their hearing and reconnect them to this vital dimension of their everyday lives.
This, coupled with the 1948 development of the transistor by Bell Laboratories, is often cited as the moment at which modern audiology hit the scene. Experts began to develop standardized strategies to measure hearing loss, and tools to treat the problem were more abundant than ever. With the development of digital hearing aids in the early 1960s, it was only a matter of time before the audiological treatment became the powerful, common, and respected profession it is today. The word “audiology” first appears in print in 1946 in a medical journal, followed by the founding of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology in 1977, with the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA) coming shortly after in 1978. When the American Academy of Audiology was founded in 1988, it effectively standardized the practice of healthy hearing treatment, and ushered in a new age with high standards of care.
Today, audiologists combine a staggering array of incredibly advanced tools and decades of specialized knowledge to transform the lives of individuals affected by hearing loss. We’ve come a long, long way from the ear trumpets and boxy akouphones of the past, and patients are reaping the benefits every day.
I feel privileged to live in an age in which life-changing treatment technologies are within reach of ordinary folks, with audiologists like myself poised to connect patients with the tools they need to live their best lives. If you’re curious to learn just how powerful modern hearing treatment can be, give me a call at 617-934-6987, or click the link below to schedule your complimentary consultation!
START YOUR JOURNEY TO YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE’S BETTER HEARING:
At Quincy Hearing Aid of Quincy, MA, we want to ensure you are confident with your decision for not only your choice in hearing loss treatment, but also for the audiology office in Metro Boston you choose to start your or your loved one’s hearing healthcare. To ensure you are completely confident in your decision, we offer a few no-obligation, no-pressure ways to get started!
1. Find out what the most important aspects are in choosing the right audiologist in Metro Boston, or the South Shore for you or your loved one by reading our free report, “What to expect during your hearing consultation.”
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3. Call 617.934.8155 to speak with a Quincy Hearing Aid team member right away!
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