• History of Hearing Devices

    See hundreds of hearing devices in this Digital Exhibit, Deafness in Disguise, Concealed Hearing Devices of the 19 th and 20 th Centuries, at the Barnard Becker Medical Library at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.

    Deafness in Disguise presents images, illustrations, advertising pamphlets, trade catalogs, patents, rare books and other material pertaining to mechanical and electrical hearing devices from the 19th and 20th centuries. Of particular focus in this exhibit are hearing devices that were designed for concealment or camouflage within every day items.

    Hearing trumpets were built into opera glasses, binoculars and lorgnettes, combining acoustic benefit with vision enhancement in a single design. Other unusual hearing aid devices were the table vase, beard receptacle, water canteen receptor, acoustic cane, acoustic fan with ear trumpet and acoustic chairs. There was the “mourning trumpet”, aptly named as it was covered with black fabric, leather, lace and ribbon to blend in with clothing typically worn by women in mourning.

    19th Century Hearing Devices

    20th Century Hearing Devices