1817: Some Treatments for Deafness

John Harrison Curtis’ A Treatise on the Physiology and Diseases of the Ear, first published in 1817, lists several common treatments for a variety of ear diseases and deafness:

  • Compound Calomel Pill and ointment made up of equal parts of the nitrated mercurial ointment and an astringent injection called Hugi Lard. Used for herpetic eruption of ears that block hearing.
  • Ointment of Zinc and Nitrated Mercurial ointment with Hugi Lard for an ulcer in the ear
  • red Nitrated Mercurial Ointment for a polypus of the ear
  • Extraction of polypus with forceps, followed by application of Argentum Nitratum for puriform discharge from the ear
  • Mercury for blisters behind the ear, and injection of nitrated silver for puriform discharge that follows blistering (oh my, this will burn like hell)
  • doses of Submuriate of Mercury and dose of vitriolated mercury for nervous deafness
  • For “noises in the head” or nervous deafness (i.e. congenital deafness): Seton on neck, blisters behind ear, Submuriate of mercury, sulphate of magnesia, strict antiphlogistic regime.
  • Puncture of tympanum for obstruction of the Eustachian tubes preceding from syphilis.
  • Syringing to drain out wax
Example of a large fleshy looking polypus in the ear, which was later removed surgically (watercolor, 1895). By Leonard Portal Mark.From: St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives & Museum

Example of a large fleshy looking polypus in the ear, which was later removed surgically (watercolor, 1895). By Leonard Portal Mark. From: St Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives & Museum

 

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