This chapter presents an overview of the current state of a hearing aid tracing back through the history. The hearing aid, which was just a sound collector in the sixteenth century, has continued to develop until the current digital hearing aid for realizing the downsizing and digital signal processing, and this is the age of implanted hearing devices. However, currently popular implanted hearing devices are a fairly large burden for people soon after they become aware of their hearing loss, although auditory stimulation to the nerve in the early stage can avoid accelerated cognitive decline and an increased risk of incident all-cause dementia. For this reason, we tend to stick to wearable hearing aids that are easy to be put on and take off. Although the digital hearing aid has already reached the technical ceiling, the noninvasive hearing aids have some severe problems that are yet to be resolved. In the second half of this chapter, we discuss the scientific and technical solutions to broaden the range of permissible users of hearing aids.
Part of the book: An Excursus into Hearing Loss