The earliest appearance of these instruments is unknown, but they became very popular in the 1800's and a few were made in Europe as late as the 1960's. These hearing aids have a unique appearance and were often cumbersome to use. They also provided limited benefit, particularly for those with more than a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hand engraved sterling silver. Made by F.C. Rein in London, England about 1850. This is the oldest item in the museum. The dome measures 7.1 cm high by 6.8 cm in diameter.
Hawksley Ear Dome
This ear dome was made in about 1890 by Hawksley of England. Made of brass. Bell measures 7.2 cm in diameter by 6.6 cm high. The shape and size of the dome will influence its resonant characteristics.
This ear trumpet is made of tin. Black tape, painted silver, covers the area where the trumpet is held.
Clarvox Lorgnette Trumpet
This lorgnette is made of artificial tortoise shell. The earpiece (the short, curved end) pivots for more comfortable positioning. It was made in France.
Hawksley B 93. Auricle worn on headband or in a bonnet. The tubing is adjustable in two places. Made of metal with an optional cloth covering (as shown). Made by T. Hawskley Ltd., London, England about 1915.
Stethoclare Table Model
Pilling "Stethoclare Table Model". Made about 1914. The open end pointed toward the speaker, and a tube led from the back portion to the ear for listening. Cone measures 11.6 cm in diameter by 12.0 cm deep.
Dates from 1960 and may still be sold in Europe. Collapsible ear scoop made of plastic. Older models were enameled metal or leather covered.
The hearing fan was used by holding the fan between the teeth. Fan tension could be adjusted by strings attached to the back of the fan. Sound waves striking the fan were conducted through the teeth, and thus the skull bones, to stimulate the cochlea. It was not a very efficient means of amplification even for strictly conductive hearing losses.
Twin-Fone, made by the American Earphone Company. Not a hearing aid, but rather a mechanical device to allow a second person to listen to a telephone conversation. The extra parts are to modify it for a French styled telephone.
Otophone 2 D
Made by Meyrowitz in New York City about 1887. Measures 92.5 cm long by 1.9 cm diameter. This listening tube has a diaphragm earpiece.