This interesting photo was taken in 1974 at the exact moment Harold Whittles, a five-year-old boy who was born deaf hears sound for the first time. The image was captured by photographer Jack Bradley and was published in the February 1974 edition of Reader’s Digest. The shocked expression on Harold’s face isn’t surprising. Imagine being transported from a silent world into a world of sound in an instant.

This of course, was achieved thanks to the advancement of technology and an electronic hearing aid. So, let’s take a quick look at the history of hearing aids...

The first hearing aids were ear trumpets, which were often made from animal horns but over time were manufactured from all sorts of materials. Eventually, the arrival of the telephone allowed electrical hearing aids to become a reality. People with hearing loss reported better conversations with telephones, since the receiver could be held to their ear. Inventors took note of this, including Thomas Edison who had hearing loss himself. The first electric hearing aid, the Akouphone, was created by Miller Reese Hutchison in 1898. It worked by using a carbon transmitter to amplify the sound by taking a weak signal and using an electric current to make it a stronger. 

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