Created By: KingZeal on August 8, 2011 Last Edited By: KingZeal on August 9, 2011
Troped

Ear Trumpet

A trumpet that sticks out of the ear to-- HUH?!! WHAT? SPEAK UP, SONNY!!

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
The Ear trumpet (or Ear Horn) is a very old-fa--

HM?! WHAT'S THAT, SPEAK UP, BOY!!

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

WHAT?! YOU'LL HAVE TO SPEAK LOUDER, SONNY!!

*sigh*...

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.

DANGIT, KIDDO. YOU'RE SPEAKING TOO LOUD! THESE OLD EARS ARE SENSITIVE YOU KNOW!

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.

Examples:

Comics
  • 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 albums return him to his hard-of-hearing state.

Film
  • There's an old character in The Quiet Man that uses one.
  • An old man in Wild Wild West is briefly seen with one, tipping out accumulated ear wax for disgusting effect.

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 MythBusters 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.

Videogames
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.

WHAT?! COULD YOU REPEAT ALL THAT?! I WASN'T USING MY TRUMPET!
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 8, 2011
    KingZeal
    Thinking about making this a Self Demonstrating Article, like the laconic shows.
  • August 8, 2011
    JonnyB
    There's an old character in The Quiet Man that uses one.
  • August 9, 2011
    AriHasNoLife
    An old man in Wild Wild West is briefly seen with one, tipping out accumulated ear wax for disgusting effect.
  • August 9, 2011
    peccantis
    Western Comics:
    • 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".
  • August 9, 2011
    Korodzik
    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.
  • August 9, 2011
    Chabal2
    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 albums return him to his hard-of-hearing state.

  • August 9, 2011
    SKJAM
    Appeared in the Dragnet TV series as Joe Friday and his partner attempt to question a hard-of-hearing witness.
  • August 9, 2011
    NateTheGreat
    In Kings 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.
  • August 9, 2011
    Antigone3
    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!

    (Possibly not entirely parody, as it's made clear a few times in the show that Adam's hearing isn't all that great.)
  • August 9, 2011
    TonyG
    Beethoven used one in his appearance on Animaniacs.
  • August 9, 2011
    jatay3
    Once when Winston Churchill saw a fellow Parliamentarian taking one of these into a session where an opponent of his was speaking he said, "That fool, to deprive himself of his natural advantage."
  • August 9, 2011
    benjamminsam
    I think that a character in Wild Wild West had one of these, but it's been ages since I've seen that gem.
  • August 9, 2011
    Sailor11sedna
    There was a scene in Futurama right after Fry finds out he did his grandma.
  • August 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Wow, I ykttw'ed this a while back and it didn't garner as many examples before it got deleted, as you got in one day.
    • 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.
    • The Simpsons: 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.
  • August 9, 2011
    BOFH
    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.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=54hbhlvd3vnpzevr74o8j5o0