Now Hear This: "Hello Phone" Telescopic Ear Trumpet Sounds Good, Looks Silly

Having solved all other problems, Japan has re-invented the ear trumpet. The so-called “Hello Phone” from Konna Shop is actually a rebooted Speaking Tube, enabling those hard of hearing to carry on conversations in an otherwise normal manner.

Speaking tubes, ear trumpets and other such mechanical sound-amplifying aural aids were once commonplace in the days before the invention of hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Often made of wood, metal or both, these devices were typically expensive, heavy, and not very portable. Widespread use of these sound-boosters among the elderly also contributed to an unflattering stereotype: the cranky crooked-backed oldster holding an outlandish ear trumpet and repeatedly asking “What's that, sonny?”

The main manufacturer of these devices was F. C. Rein and Son of London, UK, who began making and marketing ear trumpets and speaking tubes around the year 1800 and officially ceased production in 1963.

Obviously Konna Shop perceived a longstanding unfilled market niche in the ear trumpet sector, because they've taken it upon them,selves to fill it with the “Hello Phone”, a telescopic plastic speaking tube that addresses many of the traditional devices drawbacks while preserving all of its functions. Way to perpetuate a fading stereotype, Konna Shop.

The Hello Phone is made from polypropylene plastic tinted Wine Red and weighs a mere 40 grams (1.41 oz). In collapsed form it measures 270mm (10.63 inches) in length, extending up to 570mm (22.45 inches) when in use.

The accordion-style design is also eminently flexible, durable and can be washed multiple times – as befits such an interpersonal device. You can order the Hello Phone at the Konna Shop product page where it's priced at 1,800 yen (just under $20) excluding tax.