Profile America — Tuesday, November 16th. There was good news for the hard of hearing this week in 1901 — as Miller Reese Hutchinson of New York patented the first portable electric hearing aid. Called the “Acousticon,” the device was a smaller version of previous tabletop units. While portable, it still had three components and used batteries that only lasted for a few hours. But it was far superior to ungainly hearing trumpets or simply cupping a hand behind the ear. Now, tiny digital hearing aids that users can program for maximum effect help millions to hear normal conversations. In the U.S., there are more that 8 million people who have difficulty hearing and a million who are unable to hear at all. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.
Sources: American Speakers Calendar of Events
U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features, CB10-FF.13