History of Hearing Loss

North Carolina Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc.

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Long History/Recent Progress

Hearing loss has plagued people since the dawn of time. Only very recently has there been very much one could actually DO about hearing loss.

This (tongue-in-cheek) look at the History of Hearing Loss reflects that message well ... and highlights how rapidly things are improving for people with hearing loss. It's not just technology that's changing, but laws, and with the way society and we, ourselves, view hearing loss.

When you've finished reading this list of progress, I hope you'll feel that "There's NEVER been a better time to have a hearing loss." and that you are "Ready to join the movement to keep that progress alive".

See the History of Hearing Loss.

A Tongue-in-Cheek Look at the History of Hearing Loss

When? What Happened for Hard of Hearing People? Impact
10,000 bc to 1700 ad
  • Not much ... unless you count getting eaten by a tiger or perhaps, if you were luckier, being considered an idiot because you couldn't hear well.
This was not a good time to be Hard of Hearing.
1700 ad - about 1900 ad
  • Ear Trumpets used by some Hard of Hearing People
This was not a much better time to be Hard of Hearing. Fortunately, people still didn't live very long.
  • Silent (Captioned) Movies
  • First electronic hearing aid patented
  • Imagine, Hard of Hearing People could go to the movies!
  • Actually the first electronic hearing aid was developed before the turn of the century, but no one patented an electronic hearing aid until 1901. If you think body aids and BTEs are large, you should have seen these early aids ... One was so large it was actually built into a CHAIR! At least you didn't have to stick it in your ear.
  • Talking Pictures
No more captions ... Well, easy come, easy go! ... And to make matters worse, the US implemented Prohibition, so you couldn't even drown your sorrow at the loss of the subtitles in movies.
  • Electronic (Body) Hearing Aids
Hearing aids finally become small enough to wear instead of sitting in. But, they are expensive and not many people have them. Hearing loss? Not me ... That's for Old People, Isn't it?
  • Telecoils
Let's face it, not much of anything (with the possible exception of Elvis)happened in the 50s, but telecoils were one of the good things that did happen. If you don't know what a telecoil is, then you definitely need to join SHHH.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
  • American Sign Language (ASL) first recognized as a language
  • TTYs
Hard of Hearing People Still Hiding.
  • In the Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
  • Amplified Phones
  • Assistive Listening Systems
  • Cued Speech Invented
  • Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc Established
At Last, a Support Group!, but Most Still Hiding.
  • Personal Assistive Listening Devices
  • In the Canal Hearing Aids
  • Programmable Hearing Aids
  • Closed Captions
  • NC DSDHH Formed
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA)Established
  • Auditory Brain-Stem Implant (ABI)
  • Computer Assisted Note Taking (CAN)
  • Micro-Surgery Corrects Some Hearing Loss
Technology Takes Off! A few brave Hard of Hearing Souls Venture Out.
  • NC DSDHH Hard of Hearing Task Force NCSHHH State Association Recognized by SHHH National Computer Translation of Stenography to English Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA>) Digital Hearing Aids Relay First Ever NCSHHH/DSDHH Conference on Hearing Loss in North Carolina Computer Speech Recognition Text Pagers Beyond Hearing (Internet List about hearing loss issues) Established Hearing Aid Implants E-Mail Voice Carry Over (VCO) Relay Video Relay Internet Chat Tools World Wide Web Has Lots of Hard of Hearing Links Most Hearing Aids Still Advertised as "Almost Invisible"
  • Hard of Hearing People Start to Accept and Overcome their Hearing Loss
There has never been a better time to be Hard of Hearing, but there is a lot of work to be done. Are you taking advantage of all the recent advances? You can help yourself and others by joining SHHH, now.
2000 & Beyond
  • Hard of Hearing People accept themselves!
  • SHHH Membership Soars!
  • Assistive Technology is Everywhere!
  • Assistive Listening Systems are common for even people with normal hearing. Audio from all types of sources (TV, Stereo, Computer, Telephones) is available via radio to high-tech receivers that are one everyone's MUST HAVE list of cool "appliances".
  • Speech recognition software and hardware is so good that it can instantly interpret speech in almost any environment) and discretely display the text to hard of hearing people.
  • Discrimination is a Thing of the Past.
  • Hard of Hearing People can enjoy movies, TV, plays, lectures, jobs, friends and family.
  • All movies, theaters, auditoriums, stadiums, museums and churches are innately accessible via assistive listening systems and via discrete captioning or speech recognition tools.
Think this is too good to be true? It CAN happen, but only if we make it happen. There has never been a better time to start doing something positive about your hearing loss ... Go to the SHHH Website and join, now! You'll be doing your part to help this rosey future occur and you'll be helping yourself right now.

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