Deafness in Disguise Washington University School of Medicine Becker Medical Library

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Concealed Hearing Devices of the 20th Century

For women, hair is a natural place to conceal a hearing aid and hearing aid manufacturers of the 20th century, like those of the 19th century, designed a variety of models that could be concealed within hair. Such devices included barrettes, scarves and hats.

Barrette hearing aids
Barrette Hearing Aid Models
Barrette hearing aids
In the 1950s, a nifty barrette did just the trick for concealing hearing aids. Hearing aid barrettes were available in colors to match one's hair and included instructions on styling to conceal the cord and earpiece.

© Reprinted with permission from Arnoud Beem

Paravox brochure about concealing hearing aid in hair-style
Paravox Veri-Small hearing aid, 1948
Paravox Veri-Small, 1948
Directions for styling a hairdo also came with regular body hearing aid models. This brochure from Paravox outlined the steps to concealing a Paravox Veri-Small hearing aid within a hairstyle.
Sonotone brochure describing the SonoComb, a hearing device disguised as a haircomb
Sonotone brochure describing hairstyles to conceal hearing aids

    Courtesy of Sonotone

Sonotone “Your Passport to Poise” brochure
Sonotone’s “Fashion: Your Passport to Poise” brochure described how Sonotone products could complement almost any woman’s hairstyle. Both the “SonoComb” and the “Out-A-Sight” eartip could be used with whatever style flattered the wearer, because “whatever your hearing need, it’s easy to combine with good grooming.”
Hal-Hen hearing aid scarf
Sonotone Hearing Hats

© Hal-Hen Company, Inc.

Hats and Scarves
As shown in these advertisements, hearing aid hats and scarves were available in a variety of clever styles for the fashion-conscious woman. They were often custom-designed with sewn-in cords and pockets for the batteries.

Courtesy of Sonotone

Casual fashions for hearing aid wearers
Hearing aid manufacturers also included directions on how to wear your hearing aid while at the beach or wearing a halter neckline.

Courtesy of Sonotone


“The only thing you can’t do daughter, is take your hearing aid into the water.”

Hearing device wig patent, 1934
This wig patent from 1934 represents one of the few designs for non-electrical hearing devices of the 20th century and was used to disguise hearing trumpets.
Hair dryer hearing device, 1957
Another unusual patent for hair is this patent from 1957 that allowed for women to wear an ear trumpet device while using a hair dryer at the beauty shop.

But Not in Vain

They've solved the problem now, G. E.,
With an earpiece that you really can't see.
With an “Out of Sight” and a high hairdo,
I wear my hearing aid and my vanity too.

Jessie Wendell, 1949

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