• PHOTO ESSAY: Storefront Displays

    Two months ago, I was at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., researching through copies of The Hearing Dealer, a trade magazine for dealers and sellers of hearing aids during the 1950s. The magazine is an excellent historical source for examining how dealers went around cultural and legal restrictions for selling hearing aids to… Continue Reading

  • Diagnosing Deafness by Perspiration

    “The most difficult form of deafness to diagnose has been deafness in infants,” a March 1954 article in Life magazine declared. So how could physicians or audiologists determine hearing loss in children too young to respond to standard audiometric tests or make use of picture screening tests that require an understanding of primary words? If… Continue Reading

  • REVIEW: Sounds of Modern History

    Book Review: Sounds of Modern History: Auditory Cultures in 19th and 20th Century Europe Edited by Daniel Morat (Berghahn Books, 2014) As a historian who studies the history of deafness, I am fascinated with the experiences and histories of sound and auditory perception. Sounds have become so ubiquitous to daily living that it seems only… Continue Reading

  • The Otophone

    In the 1870s, E.B. Meyrowitz, an optician in New York City, established a surgical instrument company. By 1887, the company began manufacturing acoustic aids for the deaf, the most prominent of which was the Otophone*. The device was invented by James A. Maloney, who filed for a patent the same year, for a hearing aid… Continue Reading

  • Apparatus for Church

    An 1883 article in Scientific American narrated how a New Jersey clergyman’s deaf wife was finally able to hear her husband’s sermons in church with the aid of an apparatus. As illustrated in the engraving, the apparatus connected a series of trumpets underneath the church floor, connecting the preacher’s desk to the pews, so that the wife… Continue Reading

  • Auricular Training & The Little Deaf Child

    I came across a copy of The Little Deaf Child: A Book for Parents, a short book published in 1928 reassuring parents of deaf children that with proper training and education, there was hope for their children. The book was written by John Dutton Wright (1866-1952), the founder and director of the Wright Oral School in New… Continue Reading