Ear trumpets are tubular or funnel-shaped devices which collect
The use of ear trumpets for the partially deaf dates back to the 17th century. The earliest description of an ear trumpet was given by the French
By the late 18th century, their use was becoming increasingly common. Collapsible conical ear trumpets were made by instrument makers on a one-off basis for specific clients. Well-known models of the period included the Townsend Trumpet (made by the
The first firm to begin commercial production of the ear trumpet was established by Frederick C. Rein in London in 1800. In addition to producing ear trumpets, Rein also sold hearing fans and
Rein was commissioned to design a special acoustic chair for the ailing King of
Toward the late 19th century, hidden hearing aids became increasingly popular. Rein pioneered many notable designs, including his 'acoustic headbands', where the hearing aid device was artfully concealed within the hair or headgear. Reins' Aurolese Phones were headbands, made in a variety of shapes, that incorporated sound collectors near the ear that would amplify the acoustics. Hearing aids were also hidden in couches, clothing, and accessories. This drive toward ever-increasing invisibility was often more about hiding the individual's disability from the public than about helping the individual cope with his problem.
F. C. Rein and Son of London ended its ear trumpet-manufacturing activity in 1963, as both the first and last company of its kind.[