Cochlear Implants and Mobile Wireless Connectivity

Cochlear Implants and Mobile Wireless Connectivity

Panteleimon Chriskos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Orfeas Tsartsianidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0264-7.ch004
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Human senses enable humans to perceive and interact with their environment, through a set of sensory systems or organs which are mainly dedicated to each sense. From the five main senses in humans hearing plays a critical role in many aspects of our lives. Hearing allows the perception not only of the immediate visible environment but also parts of the environment that are obstructed from view and/or that are a significant distance from the individual. One of the most important and sometimes overlooked aspects of hearing is communication, since most human communication is accomplished through speech and hearing. Hearing does not only convey speech but also conveys more complex messages in the form of music, singing and storytelling.
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Hearing Aids

The importance of hearing can be also stressed by the number of devices that have been invented in order to assist individuals hard of hearing (Howard, 1998; Levitt, 2007; Mills, 2011). In modern times one of the simplest forms of hearing aid dates to the 17th century known as the ear trumpet. Ear trumpets were tubular or funnel-shaped devices that gather acoustic waves and lead them to the user’s ear. Due to the large size of the opening of the device, compared to the human ear, more sound waves were guided into the ear, which result in a stronger vibration of the eardrum and thus allowing a stronger in magnitude perception of sound.

Ear trumpets where usually large, cumbersome, awkward to use and aesthetically unappealing devices. This changed drastically with the advent of the 19th century and hearing aids became devices that could be incorporated or concealed in everyday items of even in articles of clothing or jewelry (Beckerexhibits, 19th century). This led to an increase in the number of hearing aid users, since the hearing aid new design and appearance could conceal the devices' true purpose. Worn or handheld devices included among others, acoustic headbands, concealed in a hat or in an elaborate hairstyle, acoustic fans, commonly used by women, acoustic canes, used by men, sound receptors designed to be concealed in hair or under a beard, as well as, acoustic hats that concealed ear trumpets under or in the hat with earpieces held in place by springs. In 1819, F. Rein, was commissioned to design an acoustic chair for King John VI of Portugal. In the same period similar chairs were designed and where meant to aid royalty, judges, lawyers and merchants in their everyday business. Other everyday items that were used to conceal hearing aids where vases. Such devices were commonly used on a table. They had multiple openings in order collect sounds, mainly the voice of the others seated, from many directions and lead them to the user's ear through a long flexible hearing tube. The above devices apart from aiding those hard of hearing also provided concealment in an effort to secrete the user's hearing problem.

Further progress in the field of hearing aids had to wait until the late 19th century when the invention of the microphone and telephone enabled the alteration of acoustic signals (Mills, 2011). One of the first hearing aid was created by Miller Reese Hutchison in 1898 called the Akouphone. The sound signal was amplified using an electric current through a carbon transmitter. Siemens in 1913 developed an electronic hearing aid that was portable and consisted of a speaker that fit in the ear. In 1920 Earl Hanson developed a hearing aid called Vactuphone using vacuum tubes that used a telephone transmitter to convert sound to electrical signals that were amplified and then passed on to a telephone receiver. In 1927 Acousticon Model 28 was released (Beckerexhibits, 20th century). This large device consisted of multiple carbon components rendering it and hard to carry especially with the batteries of the time that were large in size and weight. Due to the limitations in size and weight many hearing aids were camouflaged to resemble table top radios or concealed in large handbags. With the reduction in the size of vacuum tubes and batteries in the 1930's and 40's the size of hearing aids allowed them to be concealed under articles of clothing or strapped on the body with the use of harnesses.

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