Two Inventions That Have Made a Difference in Many Lives

As many people do, I wear eyeglasses. I don’t know how I would get along without them. I can see objects well up close but at a distance objects are blurred. Without my glasses, it would be difficult for me to function. I have worn glasses since 1963. I didn’t know I needed them until then. I thought everyone’s vision was the same as mine. I was very wrong.
Late in 1963, I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Our unit was involved in a three-week training exercise called “Operation Swift Strike” at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After the exercise and as we were traveling back to Fort Eustis, I was sitting beside a friend from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He had his glasses off and was twirling them around. Just on impulse, I said, “give me those things a minute.” I put them on and they opened up a whole new sight experience for me. His prescription was very close to if not exactly what I needed.
The fact that his eyeglasses prescription was the same or near what I needed was a very important coincidence for me. I knew then that I needed glasses. It wasn’t long before I was wearing glasses and was delighted in the improvement in my vision.
I guess that all too often we take for granted some of the devices we use every day of our lives. I was thinking recently of the importance of inventions such as eyeglasses. Without glasses many of us would be at a great loss. Of course, many folks wear contact lenses now but I guess the principle is the same as it is for glasses.
I did a little research and found that glasses have been around for quite a while. Nobody knows who invented eyeglasses. I remembered from history that Benjamin Franklin was annoyed because he had to change glasses every time he switched from viewing close objects to viewing distant objects. Genius that he was, Franklin decided to put a half lens at the top of his eyeglass frame for distant viewing and a half lens at the bottom of his frame for viewing close up.
Another device that I’m particularly thankful for is the modern hearing aid. I have severe hearing loss in both ears. I would be extremely limited without wearing hearing aids. Even with them sound is unnatural and certain sounds are difficult or impossible to distinguish from other similar sounds.
A dictionary definition of “hearing aid” is “an electronic device usually worn by a person for amplifying sound before it reaches the receptor organs. “ Various kinds of hearing aids have been used for many years. Huge cone-shaped devices that captured sound over a large area were used to improve hearing many years ago. The invention of the vacuum tube and later transistors paved the way to the modern hearing aids.
Just as with eyeglasses, hearing aids have been improved and refined over the years until they have become the modern marvel we have today. There are many inventions I’m grateful for, but I’m especially grateful for hearing aids and glasses. To those who invented or improved them in some way over time, whoever they are, I salute them. They may never have known the impact their work would have on the everyday lives of many people around the world.