Eyeglass-Style Transistor Hearing Aids—General Information
Eyeglass-style hearing aids, which appeared on the market
about the same time as behind-the-ear hearing aids, enjoyed some popularity with
consumers right through until the late 1970s.
They had disadvantages such as
thicker frames, especially with the early generation ones, and the fact that you
automatically took your
hearing aids off when you removed your glasses.
With smaller and
smaller BTE and ITE hearing aids becoming more popular, the eyeglass-style eventually
lost favor with the hard of hearing consumer.
The early eyeglass aids were for single ear fittings since
the relatively large components had to be fitted into both temple pieces of the
eyeglass frame. As they reduced in size, it became possible to provide binaural
fittings. Both air conduction and bone conduction eyeglass styles were
There were some interesting innovations with eyeglass hearing aids.
For example, early eyeglass hearing aids had the microphone on one
side and the earpiece on the other side because of technical limitations. Then, years later when
people realized the advantages of such configurations, CROS hearing aids
(where the microphone is on the deaf side and the ear piece is on the
the hearing side)
were deliberately designed for BTE and ITE hearing aids.
Another interesting innovation that was first brought out in eyeglass
hearing aids was a solar-powered eyeglass hearing aid called the
Solaris. It was unveiled by Zenith on May 1, 1958. This hearing aid sold
for the then princely sum of $250.00.
Click here to
read the news item in the New York Times.