Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beltone Hearing Glasses (1956-1958)

 Good morning!

Again, the treasures you find flipping through Life magazine are vast and untold. I think it was in the same issue as those bunnies from yesterday that I first spotted this invention:

Don't! Look! Into! His! Eyes!

I don't know what it is about the two-tones and grayscales of these late fifties' Beltone ads for "hearing glasses" that puts me on my guard, but boyo, is whatever it is there! The disembodied head coming 'atcha is one thing. The term "hearing glasses" is another. A small transistor hearing aid, receiver, and microphone is implanted in the back of the thick framed glasses, voilà! Ears-like-new (you can see actual examples of the glasses her at the Online Hearing Aid Museum) . I really think Beltone came up with a clever way to hide hearing loss for vain senior citizens who also happen to have bad eyesight, but did the ads have to be SO grave and creepy? 

 "No, my child. But thank you for asking."
Here, a grandmother and her grandchild sit on a fifties' couch, listening to a obviously added-later-by-the-art-department record player, as the child sweetly asks, "Did God give you new ears?" I'm no Don Draper, but I'm pretty sure the weirdness of this tagline would have put it in the Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price reject pile the moment it came out of a drunk intern's brainstorming session.

 I wonder, if like many assistive devices, you could send them your specs (no pun intended) and get the measurements of them tailor made to your head size. These are no doubt high ticket items! I'd hate for them to arrive at my doorstep, the very answer to my prayers, and hang off the edge of my nose or not fit my head at all. Looking at this ad, I was reminded of the many, many disappointing times I've put a pair of sunglasses on my gigantic face and momentarily forgotten that most sunglasses are made for people with normal sized heads. Between my skull size and Bab's skull, we're going to have the most pumpkinheaded kids this side of the Mississippi. So! With the where-your-ear-is-on-your-head question probably a pretty key point to fitting these glasses, do you send them your head measurements? How does one take head measurements? These questions haunt me.

Beltone hearing glasses are not just for men! I love this woman's mid fifties' Elizabeth Taylor style cosmetics look plus outta-this-world catseyes. HOW I MUCH DO I WANT A PAIR OF CATSEYE GLASSES. Let's just say a lot.

Regardnig the next picture: Can you tell?

Seen any weirdo, strange-o advertisements lately in your vintage perusings? Do tell!

See you guys tomorrow for Photo Friday!


  1. Too funny! He reminds me of the head figure used to sell those X-ray Vision Glasses that were advertised in comic books – just add red and white pinwheels to the lens.

    1. Ha! Perfect. I knew it wasn't just me! He really does look creepy!

  2. I can totally see the appeal of these! Now that I know they exist, I kind of want to find one in real life to play with.

  3. "Book will be sent in plain wrapper"- wow, not being able to hear must have been something to really be ashamed of (unlike blindness). Cool post, I had no idea these existed!



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