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.

 

Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids: 1921-1953

Acousticon Model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) Vacuum Tube (Wrist-worn) Hearing Aid

The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid was produced by Dictograph Products, Inc. of New York in 1950. This is a unique hearing aid in that it could be worn on the wrist, or alternately as a body aid. It was the only hearing aid made that was designed to be worn on the wrist.

The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid, although so small actually contained 3 vacuum tubes. This hearing aid measured 3⅛” by 1 9/16” by 1” (8.0 x 4.1 x 2.5 cm) and was quite heavy for its size—weighing 3˝ oz. (100 g) without the batteries.

Note that this hearing aid was a slight modification of the model A-165. The two obvious modifications were that there were no side pocket clips and the front was gold-plated.

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Front view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the fine sunburst design covering the front of this aid.

Note the gold plating is wearing off.

 Also note that some of these modified hearing aids did not have the gold plating on the front (e.g. see picture below).
 

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Front view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing it fitted with a wrist strap for wearing on the wrist. The receiver (bottom) plugged into the bottom left corner as shown.


 

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Upper front view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the on-off/volume control wheel.


 

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Top view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the top-mounted (removable) microphone.

Removable microphones were not all that common. The idea was to clip the microphone to the lapel button hole on a suit jacket where it would look like a "pin" for some organization or other. That way the body of the hearing aid could be hidden in an inside pocket.

 

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Top view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid with the microphone removed, revealing the name (Acousticon) and model number (A-165). The two shiny spring clips (on the left and right sides) held the microphone in place.

 

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Close-up of the top of the removable microphone of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid. This microphone measured 1" x 1" x 7/16" thick (2.5 x 2.5 x 1.1 cm).

 

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The bottom view of the removable microphone of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid. It also had the make and model number stamped on it. Notice the two slots (left and right sides) into which the spring clips snap. To remove the microphone, you just pull/pry it straight up.

 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the external microphone arrangement. The microphone was removed and snapped on to a remote base. The other end of the cord snapped on to the top of the hearing aid where the microphone usually resided.

 

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View of the remote microphone cord of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the red plug that plugged into the base plate (upper left). The microphone (bottom left) then snapped on over it. The other end of the cord had a clip (right) that fitted on the hearing aid in place of the microphone.

 

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View of the remote microphone cord of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid with the red plug properly plugged into the base plate (upper left). The cord was x" long.

 

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Rear view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid. Note the wrist strap pins (left and right), battery release button (bottom left) and the serial number (bottom center).

 


 

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Bottom center view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the serial number (71440) stamped into the case.


 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the removable pocket or belt clip since with this modification, there were no side pocket clips.


 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the pocket/belt clip removed.

 


 

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Close-up view of the back of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing how the removable pocket clip "wings" fitted under the wrist strap "pins".


 

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To remove the pocket/belt clip of the  Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid, you simply pushed the "pins" out and down releasing the "wings" of the removable pocket/belt clip.


 

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To access the battery compartment of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid, you pressed the release button (center) at the bottom left corner of the back of the hearing aid.


 

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When the battery-release button was pressed, the battery compartment of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid popped out as shown. You could then grasp the end and pull the battery compartment all the way out.


 

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Bottom view of the  Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the battery compartment removed. The battery compartment comprised the whole right side of the aid.


 

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Close-up view of the battery compartment of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the polarity markings for the "A" battery (left) and for the "B" battery (right).


 

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Close-up view of the battery compartment of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the two batteries required to operate vacuum tube hearing aids. On the left is a 1.4 volt Mallory RM-1 mercury "A" battery and on the right is a 15 volt Eveready 504E "B" battery.


 

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Bottom view of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing how the whole battery compartment slid into the body of the hearing aid. You pushed it in until it snapped into place.


 

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View of the bottom of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the receiver cord jack (left), switch (bottom center) and the battery door (right).


 

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Close-up view of the bottom left corner of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the two-pronged jack for the receiver cord plug.


 

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Close-up view of the bottom of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the 3-position switch there.

There are no markings indicating what this switch was, but it seems likely it was a three-position tone control.

In the right position, a white dot was visible (probably low tone emphasis).
 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the

In the left position, a yellow dot on the switch is visible (probably high tone emphasis).

In the center position (not shown) both dots were visible (probably the normal tone position).
 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid showing the wrist strap threaded through the "pins" at the back so this hearing aid could be worn on the wrist.


 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod.(Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid shown being worn on the wrist. The receiver cord was fed up the arm and out the collar to go to the ear. This hearing aid was virtually invisible when worn with a suit jacket. The microphone faced the hand.

 

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The Acousticon model A-165 Mod.(Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid in its original case. The remote microphone clip is on the left.

 

 

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Outside view of the original case of the Acousticon model A-165 Mod. (Super-X-Ear) vacuum tube hearing aid.

 

 

 


 

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