Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Carbon Hearing Aids: 1900-1939

Mears "Intensitone" Carbon Hearing Aid

The Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid was manufactured by the Mears Ear Phone Company of 45 West 34th Street in New York, NY around 1920.

The complete unit including the battery weighed 14 oz. and stood 7⅛" tall.

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Front view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid  showing the various components: microphone (upper left), earphone (lower left), battery (right) and battery extension cord (encircling the battery).

 


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Front view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid microphone showing the 6-pointed star pattern of holes forming the microphone grill.

The microphone measured 2⅜" in diameter by 1" thick (6.0 x 2.5 cm) in its collapsed mode. It weighed 3.5 oz. (100 g).


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Rear view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid carbon microphone showing the 8-step volume control

The metal loop (top center) was for running a lanyard through it to wear this hearing aid around your neck.

The inscriptions on the back read "Made in USA" (upper center), "Pat apld [applied] for" (center) and "The Mears Ear Phone" (bottom).

 

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Side view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid microphone showing the the expandable cone in its somewhat expanded position. When fully expanded (there are 5 concentric rings—only 3 would expand for this picture), the microphone was 2" (2.5 cm) thick.

This microphone was unique in having such an expanding cone, presumably to give it better directional sound capability while eliminating some background noise.

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Side view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid microphone showing the cone in its (almost) collapsed position.

 


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Side (bottom) view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid microphone showing the two jacks into which the two battery "pins" fit. The one on the left is the larger of the two.

 


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Lower rear view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid microphone showing how the battery "pins" fit into the microphone's jacks.

 

 


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The microphone of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid could be plugged directly onto the top of the battery (as shown above), or it could be separated from the battery so the battery could be carried in a pocket.

To do the latter, you plugged the optional battery extension cord onto the top of the battery and plugged the other end into the bottom of the microphone (as shown in the 2nd picture from the top (above).

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View of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid battery extension cord. This cord was 15" (38 cm) long.

 


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The Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid had another unusual feature. Instead of the battery being totally exposed or hidden in a metal battery "can", with this aid, a leather battery cover slid over the battery to conceal it. Shown here is the battery (left) and the battery cover (right).

This hearing aid used a 3-volt zinc-carbon battery of unknown manufacture. This battery was the same as the Globe No. 5 Carbon Hearing Aid Battery.

Note: the pins on the battery are set exactly 1" apart and are of unequal diameters so you couldn't plug it in backwards and thus accidentally reverse the polarity. Now, here's yet another unusual feature. Normally the larger diameter pin was on the left, but the Mears Intensitone carbon hearing aid required a battery with the larger diameter pin to be on the right.

Furthermore, you couldn't just flip the battery around since the pins are set near the back edge to counterbalance the microphone so it wouldn't fall over.

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The Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid battery with the leather battery case covering it.

In embossed gold are the words "The New Mears Ear Phone 96 Tone Intensitone Model".

I don't have a clue how they came up with 96 different tones for this hearing aid.

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Top view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid battery with the leather battery case covering it.

 

 

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Front view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid earphone. The earphone measured 2 1/16" in diameter by ¾" thick (5.2 x 1.9 cm).

 

 

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Side view of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid earphone. Note the hole (bottom center)—there is one on each side—for attaching the headband (missing) to the earphone.

 

 

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Close-up view of the upper part of the back of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid earphone showing the on-off switch (top center) in the "off" position.

 

 

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Close-up view of the lower part of the back of the Mears "Intensitone" carbon hearing aid earphone showing the name "The Mears Ear Phone".

 

 

 


 

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