The use of ear trumpets for the partially deaf dates back to the 17th century. By the late 18th century, their use was becoming increasingly common.
The first firm to begin commercial production of the ear trumpet was established by Frederick C. Rein in London in 1800.
As well as producing ear trumpets, Rein also sold hearing fans, and speaking tubes. These instruments helped amplify sounds, while still being portable.
However, these devices were generally bulky and had to be physically supported from below. Later, smaller, hand-held ear trumpets and cones were used as hearing aids.