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The Ear trumpet (or Ear Horn) is a very old-fa--


Ahem. The Ear trumpet (or Ear Horn) is a very old-fashioned type of hearing aid that was fir--



The Ear trumpet (or Ear Horn) is a very old-fashioned type of hearing aid that was first invented in the 17th century. For the most part, they exist only as relics of older eras. However, they still serve a purpose in fiction.


Oh for the love of--

There are usually three types of Ear Trumpets in fiction:

  • Type 1: Serving an accurate role in a Period Piece, where they reflect the setting.
  • Type 2: Used for comedic effect, to make it obvious that the person cannot hear.
  • Type 3: Another comedic usage, usually to illustrate how ridiculously old a character is.


  • Old timers in Lucky Luke are often seen with these, especially if said geezers are weakened to wheelchair condition. Usually the ear trumpet user still cannot hear and has to rely on someone else to personally deliver "what he says".
  • Type 2: Professor Calculus uses one in Destination Moon (which gets switched out at one point for the Captain's pipe). For the actual trip, he uses an earpiece that allows him to hear perfectly. Needless to say, later volumes return him to his hard-of-hearing state.
  • Jommeke: Both Baron Huppelvoet and the eldest nun of the "Begijntjes" have one.
  • Comic Strip:Hagar the Horrible once was trying to communicate with an old Viking. The problem: The Ear Trumpet was full of letters.


  • There's an old character in The Quiet Man that uses one.
  • A villain in Wild Wild West is briefly seen with one, tipping out accumulated ear wax for disgusting effect.
  • An old friend of Benjamin (and Gabriel's future father-in-law) in The Patriot has this; he lost his leg and most of his hearing in the French and Indian War.


  • Trumpkin uses an ear trumpet in The Silver Chair. This is both for comic effect (he mishears a good bit of information before he finally gets his ear trumpet) and to emphasize how old he is, and thus how much time has passed since the last trip to Narnia.
  • Surrealist novel The Hearing Trumpet.
  • Discworld: Unseen University's elderly wizard Windle Poons apparently used to have one. By Hogfather it was used to give HEX verbal commands.

Live Action TV

  • In The Adventure Game, one of the Argonds had an ear trumpet that was completely useless; his hearing only improved when he wore his spectacles.
  • Appeared in the Dragnet TV series as Joe Friday and his partner attempt to question a hard-of-hearing witness.
  • Type 2 was parodied by Adam Savage during a Myth Busters build -- he was assembling a huge funnel, and when he finished it he held it up to one ear.

 What's that you say, sonny? I can't hear you!

  • Several in The Benny Hill Show. In the sketch "Benny Kelly, Son Of Ned Kelly" he pours some alcohol into someone's ear horn and the fluid comes out the man's mouth.

Video Games

  • In King's Quest V, Graham encounters an old hermit that uses a conch seashell as one. Without it the only thing he can hear is the incredibly loud bell he has hanging outside his door.
    • The hero in the Mask of Eternity has to find one to hear some whisps whispering in a swamp.
  • There's on old man on Booty Island in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge whose job is to fire a cannon when the mail boat comes in. Probably because of being deafened by proximity to that loud cannon, he needs an ear trumpet to hear what Guybrush is saying.
  • Lord Spookyraven in Kingdom of Loathing has one, which you win by defeating him; because he dabbled in ancient unspeakable evil, wearing it in certain areas lets you learn the names of demons, which allows you to summon them for special effects. It also gives you a nice boost to your initiative.

Western Animation

  • Abe Simpson has used one in the Simpsons. Abe's age is a frequent point of comedy.
    • Professor Frink uses an ear trumpet as an echolocation device to find the kids in town who are running a pirate radio station giving away all the adults' secrets.
    • Mr. Burns has used an ear trumpet once or twice.
  • A Looney Tunes cartoon Now Hear This had an old man finding a new ear trumpet in place of his old and worn-out one. He is overjoyed to have a new shiny trumpet, but it is, in fact, Satan's lost horn, and it has the old man's world turn into a synesthetic, nightmarish acid trip sequence.
  • In Max Fleischers Gullivers Travels, one of the Lilliputians uses his ear trumpet as a bugle to summon a crowd to the beach where Gulliver washed up.
  • Played for laughs in Futurama when Fry travels in time and accidentally has sex with his grandmother when she was younger; upon having it spelled out for him she responds to his screams with "What was that dear?" and uses an ear horn.


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