Ear trumpet with flexible tube

1870-1920 in Europe and Unknown place

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ear trumpet with flexible tube, 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.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.


Object Number:
earpiece, brass, trumpet, brass and tube, steel
bell: 45 mm x 40 mm
ear trumpet

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.