Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Dentaphones

Dentaphone (Standard)

The smaller Standard Dentaphone was manufactured by the American Dentaphone Co. of  Cincinnati, Ohio, beginning in 1880.  It consisted of a three-sectioned "fan" made of hard rubber with a handle at the bottom end.

The smaller Standard Dentaphone measured 12¾" by 8¾" overall. When unfolded, the fan itself was 9¼" x  8¾". It was quite light at 2.3 oz.

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Back

 
Rear view of the opened Standard Dentaphone.

The Dentaphone came in two sizes—standard for normal use, and theatre size for use in larger rooms such as theaters and auditoriums.

 

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The handle of the Dentaphone showing the nameplate immediately above it.

 

 

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The name plate on the Dentaphone reads "The American Dentaphone Co", "Cincinnati, O." (for Ohio) and below that "Pat'd. Mar. 9th 1880".

Thomas W. Graydon received a US patent no. 2253655 for the Dentaphone. Click to read this patent.

 

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Since the Dentaphone uses bone conduction via the teeth, you held the Dentaphone against your top teeth and flexed the hard rubber fan.

The sound waves vibrated the flexed fan. These vibrations were transmitted to the inner ear via bone conduction from the teeth.

 

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Side view of the Dentaphone in use. By flexing the fan, the top of the Dentaphone pressed against the upper teeth.

Note: you didn't "bite" the Dentaphone. It was only supposed to touch your top row of teeth.

 

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View of the post at the top of the handle on the back of the Dentaphone. You pulled a rubber cord down and looped over the post. This kept the fan from inadvertently folding while you were putting it up to your mouth to use it.


 

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A rubber cord (not shown) was looped through the two holes—one on each of the outside sections of the fan—then pulled down and looped over the post. To fold it up again, you just unlooped the cord so the sides would fold up.


 

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Front view of the Dentaphone in it's folded position. When folded is was only 4" wide by 12¾" long.

 

 

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A close-up view of one of the six hinges—3 on each side to hold the folding sections in place.

Note: There was at least one other "hearing aid" that was also called a Dentaphone. However, this other one was totally different in size and shape. It was about the size of a large pocket watch and had a wooden mouthpiece connected to it by two wires. Just about every Internet website that mentions Dentaphones shows the "Fan" Dentaphone but gives the description of the "Watch Dentaphone".
 

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