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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T-Coils and Telephones—General Information

T-Coils and Telephones—General Information

Today, to use a telephone with a t-coil-equipped hearing aid, all you do is switch your hearing aid into t-coil mode and hold the phone receiver up to your ear. Typically, however, you need to hold the phone a bit above your ear so the coil in the phone is close to the t-coil in your hearing aid.

However, with the old body aids, the t-coil was located in the body aid itself, and thus was not near your ears. As a result, using the telephone with these body aids meant you had to hold the phone handset much differently.

In the above picture, the earpiece of the handset is shown close to the t-coil near the bottom of the body hearing aid. This aid is a Zenith Regent transistor body aid from 1952. Note that Zenith called their t-coil a "Phone Magnet".

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Example of an early Hearing Aid Custom Ear Mold


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Often, children (and some adults too) wore their body aids in a vest that was hidden under a shirt or blouse. That way the hearing aid was totally invisible.

The picture at the right shows what a hearing aid vest looked like, here shown worn over a shirt rather than under it so you can see it.

Note the body hearing aid in the vest pocket. You had to hold the phone handset upside down so the earpiece was over the t-coil on the hearing aid while you spoke into the mouthpiece.

As you can see in the picture, this often meant that you couldn't speak right into the mouthpiece while holding the earpiece directly over the t-coil in the aid, but you did the best you could.

It looked rather funny when you saw a person holding the handset upside down over their chest for no apparent reason, but it worked.

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If they didn't wear a vest, the men often wore the body hearing aid in a breast pocket. If they didn't wear a vest, the ladies often tucked the hearing aid into the middle of their bras.

The picture at the right shows how you held the telephone handset while using the t-coil in the body hearing aid when it was in your shirt pocket.



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