How an Alabama Man Has Restored Hearing For Untold Millions.
A new list from MidAmerica Nazarene University declares the electric hearing aid to be the most impactful invention to come from Alabama. The list, published by Market Watch, names of the most significant invention from every state in the union.
An electronic device worn in or behind the ear to amplify sound, the electric hearing aid was invented by Miller Reese Hutchison in 1895. Originally called the akouphone, the device did not become available for commercial use until the Twentieth Century.
Hutchison, born in Montrose, Alabama, spent most of his life in the Yellowhammer state. He attended the Marion Military Institute, Spring Hill College, and graduated from the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1897. In addition to the hearing aid, Hutchison held a patent for a lightning arrester and telegraph lines.
The hearing aid was originally invented to help one of Hutchison’s friends who became deaf from scarlet fever. He tried to market his new device, but the large tabletop model was neither practical nor cost-effective. Modifications and improvements to his original model made it increasingly popular, and he eventually sold the rights to Kelley Monroe Turner.
Today, 48 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss. The statistic is higher for Americans over age 65, where one in three struggle with hearing loss. Currently, production of hearing aids only meets 10 percent of all global need.
Source: Jordan Laporta
Image credit: Yellow Hammer News
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