Hearing Aid Museum
The Hearing Aid Museum is the largest on-line hearing aid museum in the
world, and probably the second-largest hearing aid collection in the world (the
Kent State University hearing aid collection is the largest). The museum
collection consists of about 1,500 hearing aids and related items.
The concept of this museum was to put pictures and accompanying details of
old hearing aids on-line so anyone, anywhere with Internet access could learn
about these old items without having to travel to a specific physical location.
The Museum was the brainchild of Neil Bauman,
Ph.D., the CEO of the Center for Hearing Loss Help. He took over and greatly
added to the collection of Hugh
Hetherington, the original collector of this valuable historical resource.
Dr. Neil was born with a severe hearing loss and has worn hearing aids since
1955. He started out wearing one of the first transistorized hearing aids and has
progressed though to the latest digital technology over the past 60 plus years.
Dr. Neil got interested in old hearing aids after seeing Hugh's collection
back in 2002. After 4 years of preparation, the Hearing Aid Museum website went
public in 2006.
Dr. Neil is the CEO of the
Center for Hearing Loss Help. The
Center helps people all
over the world effectively cope with their hearing
losses. He is the author of 11 books related to hearing loss (many now have gone
through several editions). He has also written more than 1,000 articles related
to hearing loss.
Hugh Hetherington is a retired telephone engineer whose interest in early
hearing aids began in the 1950's. As an employee of a telephone installation
company he purchased a second hand 1950s vacuum tube hearing aid in order to
adapt it as a cable tracer for use in telephone offices by adding a magnetic
pickup to the unit. This magnetic pickup which is now common in most hearing
aids today is called a telecoil.
Ironically, Hugh now has a high frequency hearing loss which developed while
he was working in the noisy step-by-step telephone offices in the 1950s and 1960s.
Hugh is a director of the North Shore Branch (North Vancouver, B.C.) of the Canadian Hard of
Hearing Association (CHHA). During his retirement, he has worked extensively with the CHHA to develop programs for the North Shore Branch. He is the editor of their
newsletter Mountain Ear and often lectures on hearing loss issues, including
the history of hearing aids.