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.

 

Body Type Transistor Hearing Aids

Radioear Model 840 “Lady America" Hearing Aid

The Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid, manufactured by Radioear Corporation of Pennsylvania in 1956 is an unusual barrette or clip-on body-worn style of hearing aid.

The hearing aid measured 2⅜" x 1⅜" x ½" thick. It weighed 1.3 oz.(38 g) without the battery.

 

 

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Back

 
The Radioear Model 840 (Lady America) came in two colors—dark brown (left) and tan (right).

These two colors of aids actually served different purposes. The tan version was meant to be exactly what you see—a body-worn hearing aid.

However, the brown "Lady America" was designed to be a dual function hearing aid—either a stand alone body-worn aid like the tan version, or be incorporated into a unique eyeglass hearing aid version.

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The brown version of the Radioear Model 840 (Lady America) hearing aid was identical to the tan version except for one thing—the pocket-clip trim.

Note that on the trim this hearing aid is billed as the "Lady America"


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On the tan version the pocket clip is billed as the Model 840, or as Radioear typically wrote it out, the "Eight Forty".

 

 


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Here's a bit of history leading to the development of the "Lady America" version. Radioear had hired Peter Muller-Munk (1904-1967), a young German silversmith, formerly of Tiffany & Co. and now an industrial designer, to come up with a modern design for eyeglass hearing aids. (Radioear was one of Peter's early clients.)


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The result of Muller-Munk's efforts was the distinctive and unique Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" eyeglass hearing aid (right) and the Model 40 "Lady America" body-worn hearing aid (left).

Read more about the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" eyeglass style hearing aid in the eyeglass section of the Museum.


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The Radioear Model 40 "Lady America" hearing aid eyeglasses had all the electronics in modules—one behind each ear.

These same two modules could be unplugged from the end of each temple-piece and plugged into each other to become a barrette or body-worn hearing aid. (As far as I know, this is the only hearing aid to be able to do this.)

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In order to convert from the eyeglass version to the body-worn version, all you needed was the piece of trim/pocket-clip with "Lady America" stamped on it (left). The two modules were identical whether used in the eyeglass version or the body-worn (or barrette) version.

The upper module is the "receiver" module and the lower one is the "microphone" module.

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To put the body-worn version of the Radioear Model 840 (Lady America) together you first pushed the trim piece onto the bottom of the "receiver" module.


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The trim piece of the Radioear Model 840 (Lady America) shown in place.

 

 


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Then all you had to do was plug the "microphone" module through the holes in the trim piece and into the "receiver" module jacks.

 


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You had to plug the two modules together correctly. Note the two white dots—one on each module. The dot on the "microphone" module (left) is to the right of the right pin and the dot on the "receiver" module (right) is to the left of the left pin. You plugged the two modules together such that both dots "touched" each other.


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Finally, you plugged in a 24" (61cm) receiver cord (the one for the eyeglasses was only 3" (7.5 cm) long) and voila, you now had the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" body-worn hearing aid.

Reversing the process, you could switch back to the eyeglass version.


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The tan version of  the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" went together exactly the same as the dark brown version—but with the different trim/pocket clip piece.

 


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View of the tan-colored Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" put together, but with a longer receiver cord so it could be worn in a pocket.

 


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Side and rear view of the  Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the plain back except for the band of trim hiding the join between the two modules.


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View of the "receiver" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the empty battery compartment.

 


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View of the "receiver" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the opened battery compartment with a  No. 625 battery in it.

 


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View of the "receiver" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the battery compartment door half closed.

 


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View of the "receiver" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the battery compartment door completely shut (bottom right). When completely shut, the battery door is hard to find.


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Close-up view of the bottom of the "microphone" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the rectangular microphone grill.

The "microphone" module measured 1 1/16" x 1⅜" x ½" (2.7 x 3.4 x 1.2 cm). It was ¼" shorter than the "receiver" module.

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View of the bottom of the "microphone" module of the tan Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid also showing the rectangular microphone grill.


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View of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the volume control wheel/on-off switch (top left corner of the hearing aid) and below it the receiver cord plug and the two-hole receiver cord jack on the side of the aid.

Note that this hearing aid had no other controls apart from the volume control. It had no tone control  or telecoil switch, for example.

The receiver" module measured 1 5/16" x 1⅜" x ½" (3.3 x 3.4 x 1.2 cm).

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View of the tan version of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the volume control wheel/on-off switch (top left corner of the hearing aid) and below it the two-hole receiver cord jack on the side of the aid.

Note the white dot above the upper hole in both this picture and the one above. This is to line up the black dot on the plug to  preserve correct polarity.

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View of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the receiver cord plugged into the receiver cord jack.

If you look closely, you can see the black dot on the top of the plug lines up with the white dot on the body of the hearing aid showing it is being plugged in the right way.


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Side view of the receiver showing the receiver cord plug and receiver jack of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid.

 


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Top view of the the receiver of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the receiver cord plugged in.

 


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Side view of the of the receiver and hard plastic ear mold of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid here shown snapped together.

 


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View of the receiver and hard plastic ear mold of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid. The ear mold snapped onto the nubbin in the center of the receiver.

 


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Close-up view of the plug end of the "receiver" module of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the name (Radioear) and below it the serial number (5N74).

Note the white dot to the left of the right jack—necessary for correct orientation of plugs.


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Close-up view of the plug end of the "receiver" module of the tan Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid showing the name (Radioear) and below it the serial number (5L10).

 


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The Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid in its original case.

 


 

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The Radioear logo on the inside of the lid of the original case of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid.

 

 


 

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The original case of the Radioear Model 840 "Lady America" hearing aid. The case measured 4⅜" x 3 5/16" x 1¼" (11.3 x 8.5 x 3.2 cm).

 

 

 


 

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