Flexible tube hearing aid

1801-1900 in Unknown place

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Flexible tube hearing aid, 19th century, usually known as a conversation tube

Flexible tube hearing aids were also known as ‘conversation tubes’. They amplified sound to help partially deaf people hear more clearly. They are a very basic hearing aid. The user could either listen to general conversation or the speaker talked directly into the trumpet end. Conversation tubes were not just for the hard of hearing. Puritan couples who were courting used them during the 1600s to have private conversations. Social customs of the day dictated they sit opposite each other across a table. The conversation tube allowed them a little intimacy and interaction.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Object Number:
cover, cotton, trumpet & earpiece, ivory, turned, tube, rubber and tube, silk
Coiled: 74 mm x 235 mm x 225 mm, .421 kg
bell: 64 mm,
aural aid
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment

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