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.


Ear Trumpets (Ear Horns)

"Bugle" or "Bonnafont" Ear Trumpet (Ear Horn)

This "bugle" tin ear trumpet was so called because of its somewhat similar shape to a bugle. Alternately, it was called a Bonnafont ear trumpet after famed French otologist Jean Pierre Bonnafont (1805–1891) who invented this design somewhere around 1850. Bonnafont decided the extreme length of some ear trumpets then in current use both inconvenient and unnecessary. He folded the tube of the trumpet into four right-angles to make a much more compact ear trumpet.

There is no manufacturer's mark or name on this fairly large "bugle" ear trumpet, but it likely dates from around 1890.

It stands 8¾" high, while the bell opening is 4⅛". This tin ear trumpet weighs 5½ oz.

Bugle-shaped ear trumpets were one attempt to make the traditional straight (long) ear trumpets more compact (and thus also less visible). Stretched out, this ear trumpet would be about 20 inches long.

However, the many "corners" in the bugle reduced the amount of amplification these ear trumpets produced as compared to straight tube ear trumpets.

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Another view of the "bugle"  or "Bonnafont" ear trumpet.

Bugle-shaped ear trumpets were listed in catalogues such as the Geo. Tiemann & Co. catalogue of 1876 where they sold for $2.25 to $3.50. The Down Bros. catalogue of 1892 lists several sizes of bugle ear trumpets ranging in price between 7 and 12 shillings. Bugle ear trumpets were still listed in catalogues as late as 1928 and sold for between 18 and 25 shillings.

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Close-up of the ear tip. The ear piece is probably made of hard rubber or gutta percha.


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View looking in the bell of the "bugle" ear trumpet.



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