Ask Away Blog: Who Invented The Health Devices We Take For Granted?

Who Invented The Health Devices We Take For Granted?

Friday, November 20, 2020

 

We live in such a brilliant age of medical engineering and yet we take it for granted. Do you know someone in your family that uses a hearing aid, wears contact lenses or uses an inhaler? These products are so complex yet easy to use. They improve our quality of life, mental health and allow us to feel normal even though we think we’re not. Let's take a look at all three of these things and see why they’re still used by millions of people around the world, despite being old inventions.





Who invented the contact lens?

Did you know the very first contact lens was actually thought of by someone in the 1500s? Does Leonardo da Vinci ring any bells? He drew the very first sketches of this item and it became an idea that grew and grew until 1827, an English astronomer by the name of Sir John Herschel, proposed making a mold of a human eye. This would then be used to make corrective lenses for that specific eye, therefore acting as a lens that would fit over the eye, respecting its shape. Eventually, in 1971, the very first ‘soft’ lenses were given the go-ahead for production, in America. Since then, the materials have shifted from flexible glass composites to new fiber plastics that don’t scratch your eyes and can be worn for a full 24 hours.

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Who invented the hearing aid?

The hearing aid is something we have become used to, but it's a very complex and amazing invention. The very early beginning of the hearing aid goes back to the 13th century. This was when people were using what would seem to us, to look like gramophones to hear. Basically, large open metal tubes that would catch soundwaves and through their vibration, allow people with hearing loss to possibly make out what you were saying. The hearing aid then met with the use of electricity thanks to Thomas Edison in the 19th century. Hearing aids as we know them today, began to be used, albeit in larger forms, in the 1940s. Eventually, in the early 1950s, hearing aids became more discreet, a lot smaller, and hands-free.

Who invented the inhaler?

When you look deeper at the history of medical inventions, British names seem to be cropping up again and again. And in the case of the inhaler, it's no exception. A British or rather English doctor by the name of John Mudge invented this device, to help those that suffer from asthma, to breathe easier. It was invented in 1778 and was used for a number of things. But in the way we know and use it, it became the perfect device for the use of the drug PTC bronchodilator Medihaler-Epi (epinephrine). This was used to open up an inflamed airway and allow for the lungs to expand. Asthma is an allergic reaction or based on stress, whereby the body perceives a threat that isn’t there. Your own body begins to restrict your airway and the inhaler is used to allow the muscle to relax.

We have come to know all of these medical inventions in our daily lives but we should never take them for granted. It takes hundreds of years, and sometimes, many decades, for inventions like these to come along.




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