Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

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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.


Conversation Tubes

Eschmann (Medresco) Model OL 38001 Conversation Tube

This conversation tube was made by Eschmann [Bros.] for Medresco (MEDical RESearch COuncil) and the Department of Health & Social Security in England in 1976.

Medresco hearing aids were distributed free to qualifying people by the British Health Service. Medresco hearing aids all began with the letters "OL" followed by some numbers.

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Close-up of the earpiece showing the maker (Eschmann), the model number (OL 38001) and the date stamp (07 76). This is not July of 1876 like you might expect for a conversation tube, but July, 1976! Yes Medresco was still giving out conversation tubes to hard of hearing people as late as 1976!

We know it was not 1876 because the first Medresco hearing aids were given out in July of 1948. Also, previously, Medresco had distributed a similar conversation tube (Model OL 380A) beginning in March, 1958.

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A view of the Model OL 38001 conversation tube. The overall length of this conversation tube including earpiece and bell is 43". Notice that the tube gradually tapers from just over ¾" at the bell end to just under ½" at the earpiece end.


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Close-up of the earpiece. The earpiece is 4⅝" long. It was made of hard rubber. The sulfur gradually coming out of the hard rubber over the years gives it the brownish color.

Notice that the ear piece tip is angled at 75°. This makes it easier to fit in the ear than the right-angled tip used on some earlier conversation tubes such as the wood/hard rubber conversation tube.

A unique feature of this conversation tube is that the earpiece swivels rather than the user having to "roll" the whole tube to make it fit into his ear. The swivel joint is immediately to the right of the name and model number.

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Close-up of the Bakelite (or hard black plastic) bell. The bell is 4¾" long and is 2 3/16" in diameter.




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