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History of Hearing Aids


Hwang, Saehui (2021) History of Hearing Aids. Other, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/kbfz-af35.


[Introduction] Trumpets made of horns and hands cupped around the ear served to amplify sound since the days of hunter gatherers – a precursor to hearing aids of sorts. These devices remained fairly unchanged in principle until the 19th century. Today, hearing aids are much more than devices that simply amplify sound. Today’s hearing aids are complex instruments that combine amplification with cutting edge signal processing to enhance speech, reduce noise, cancel feedback, analyze acoustic environments, and link back to various IoT devices at home. Today, we enjoy miniaturization of electronics ranging from cell phones to pocket speakers. Miniaturization of electronics as we witness today can be attributed to several historical events such as the development of transistors (Mudry, 6) and World War II (Misa, 253). This paper will connect the history of electronics miniaturization and the development of hearing aid technology to argue that there was an inseparable bidirectional relationship between the two domains.

Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Subject Keywords:Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize; Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize - History; Hixon Writing Center
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:History
Awards:Mabel Beckman Prize, 2022. Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize - History, 2021. Donald S. Clark Memorial Award, 2021.
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Zwisler, Laila
Group:Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize, Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize - History, Hixon Writing Center
Thesis Committee:
  • None, None
Defense Date:16 November 2020
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06092021-173756347
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14272
Deposited By: Leslie Rico
Deposited On:09 Jun 2021 21:19
Last Modified:03 Aug 2022 21:36

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