Old Hearing Aid or old Horn?

When you are looking at what is supposedly a long ear trumpet style of a non-electric hearing aid, there are three things you should look at in order to determine whether it is a genuine hearing aid or something else.

  1. Notice the supposed earpiece. Is it large and flared like a bugle mouthpiece (top picture), or is it small and made to fit into the entrance of the ear canal (bottom picture)?
  2. Notice whether the supposed earpiece is straight (top picture), or whether it is curved (bottom picture). Hearing aids have curved tips so they will fit into the ear canal while keeping the hearing aid still facing forward (bottom picture). Horns are straight because you hold them up to your lips with the horn facing straight in front of you (top picture).
  3. Notice whether it is collapsible or not. Horns are built in one section (top picture), whereas hearing aid ear trumpets, especially the larger ones often are comprised of 2 or 3 sections that collapse down to make them easier to carry and store when not in use (bottom picture).

Note: Don't be fooled by the fact that you can hear through a horn. Many horns, although not hearing aids, do "work" to some degree (especially if you have normal hearing), but that does not make them hearing aids. For example, if you hold the mouthpiece of the above brass horn to your ear, you should hear quite well, but that does not make it a genuine hearing aid. It is still a horn, not a hearing aid.

What is this brass horn really? It is a Zobo. In 1895 W .H. Frost invented and patented this unique musical instrument which he christened the Zobo. The Zobo was a quality brass instrument that anyone could play by singing or speaking (not blowing) into it. The result expanded into a unique resonating sound. The Zobo quickly became a popular instrument for amusement, bands, churches, entertainers, parades and orchestras. This instrument transformed the reed instruments (i.e. saxophone and piccolo) into a new dimension of musical sound that anyone could play without experience or training.

Conclusion: By now you should have gathered that the top picture is not a hearing aid, but a Zobo horn, while the bottom picture is a genuine hearing aid ear trumpet. The purchaser got taken if he thought he was getting a real hearing aid when he purchased the Zobo in the top picture.

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