03-17-2019, 12:51 PM
  • Barrylu
  • Senior Member
  • Portland OR
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Who is the first recorded individual to successfully use a hearing aid? The answer might surprise you. The first recorded use of a hearing aid was by King Darrius The Great of Persia (550-486 BCE).

In order to understand how this particular hearing aid worked, we first have to explore two phenomena that are related to hearing. The first of these two phenomena is the Lombard Effect. We have all experienced the Lombard Effect. The Lombard Effect is simply the reflex, which causes us to increase the volume of our voice when the level of surrounding noise increases. An example of the Lombard effect is when we are speaking at a railroad platform and a train pulls into the station we automatically increase the level of our speech.

The second phenomenon is called Paracusis Wilisii. Simply, Paracusis Willisii results from of a low-frequency hearing impairment. A person suffering from a Paracusis Willisii will have difficulty hearing a bass drum but only some difficulty hearing a Violin.

It seems King Darius suffered from Paracusis Willisii. He devised a unique method of being able to hear people who came to address him in his throne room. Simply, as the individual began to speak to the King a slave would begin pounding on a kettle drum. As a result of this action, the speaker would automatically raise his voice (The Lombard Effect). The King could not hear the drum (Paracusis Willisii) but could now hear the speech of his visitor. Thus, the first recorded use of a hearing aid.

The second piece of trivia may be apocryphal but it is worth relating. Have you ever noticed that some symbols used in relation to coffee have one or more dancing goats and or the name Kaldi? As the story goes Kaldi was a Sufi goat herder in Ethiopia. He noticed that whenever his goats ate the red berries from a particular plant the goats would become particularly frisky and they began jumping in the air (dancing). Kaldi ate some of the beans and felt exhilarated. He brought the beans to an Islamic Monk in a nearby monastery. The Sufi monk disapproved of the beans and threw them in a fire. Soon the smell of the roasting beans enticed the monks to rake the beans from the fire, ground them and dissolve the beans in boiling water. Thus, yielding the first cup of coffee. As a result of this story dancing goats and the name, Kaldi are universally associated with coffee.

111 1,296
 03-17-2019, 01:58 PM
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 03-17-2019, 04:05 PM
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Interesting stuff Barry.

60 11,394
 03-17-2019, 08:22 PM
  • SCOV
  • Senior Member
  • Minnesota
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Thanks - educational late night reading

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