• Hearing Happiness: Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures

    I’m happy to announce that I signed a contract with University of Chicago Press to publish my first book, Hearing Happiness: Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures. The book explores the history of therapeutic choices and negotiations respecting “deafness cures,” including Eustachian tube catheterization, artificial eardrums, electrical apparatuses, the fenestration operation, and an abundance… Continue Reading

  • [My Guest Post] Deafness as a Public Health Issue

    In May, I took up my position as the 2016 Klemperer Fellow in the History of Medicine at the New York Academy of Medicine. Thanks to the wonderful staff there, especially Arlene Shanter, I was able to dig through the library’s trove of materials on otologists in the 1920s and 1930s and their collaborations with social… Continue Reading

  • The 20 Minute Surgery that Cured a Prince’s Deafness

    In 1923, the New York Times and Time Magazine reported that King Alfonso of Spain summoned a famous New York osteopath to treat his fifteen-year-old son, Infante Don Jaime (1908-1975). Deaf and mute following a severe case of mastoiditis (middle-ear infection) and possibly tuberculosis at a young age, Don Jaime was adjudged “incurable” by Spanish… Continue Reading

  • Can Vitamin B Cure Deafness?

    In 1934, a surgeon examined the medical histories and nutrition diaries of his deaf patients. He soon noticed that most of his patients ate very little food containing vitamin B, which was essential for heathy nerves. He then pondered: could cases of nerve deafness be cured simply by adding more vitamin B to a diet?… Continue Reading

  • Technology & Deafness

    What can the history of technology tell us about the lived experiences and cultural history of the hearing impaired? During the nineteenth century, acoustic aids became ubiquitous objects, varying in design, form, and amplification. The “Deafness in Disguise” exhibit at the Bernard Becker Medical Library brilliantly narrates the multitude of aids that were available for… Continue Reading

  • Deaf Soundscapes

    This is the story of how my professor threw chalk at me. During my second year of undergraduate studies, I took a Philosophy of Mind class that started at 8:30am. I’m far from what you would call a “morning person,” but that was the year I was steadfastly increasing my love affair with cognitive science… Continue Reading

  • Experiences of a Deaf Man

    From The Albion Magazine (1907): When a man suddenly becomes deaf there is little or nothing he would shrink from if it afforded, or seemed to afford, the smallest chance that he would recover the enjoyment of a sense which he never properly valued until he lost it. About sixteen years ago, when well advanced in life,… Continue Reading

  • Refitting a Hospital during the Great War

    During the Great War, several institutions in London were refitted as auxiliary hospitals to treat the wounded servicemen returning from the battlefields. With large numbers of hospital staff heading to the front lines or volunteering for the war effort, some smaller hospitals even refitted their premises to contribute to the war effort. One such volunteer hospital was… Continue Reading

  • Photo Essay: Vesalius at 500

    Earlier this week I finally found the time to check out the exhibit, Vesalius at 500 at Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library in Toronto, curated by Philip Oldfield. The exhibit chronicles the history of anatomy and anatomical illustrations prior to, and following, the anatomist Andreas Vesalius’ (1514-1564) publication of De humani corporis fabrica (The Fabric… Continue Reading