• 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Switching On Hearing

    It’s an iconic and powerful photo. The face of a young child, born deaf, hearing sounds for the first time. Jack Bradley, photojournalist from the Peoria Journal Star, captured the exact moment a doctor fitted five year old Harold Whittles with an earpiece and turned on the hearing aid. First printed in the February 1974… Continue Reading

  • Dancing

    A while back me and some of my girlfriends went dancing. At the club, we encountered a group of some of my deaf friends, some who were profoundly deaf and could not hear or speak–but communicated via sign language. All of us went off to the dance floor. The music was, indeed, VERY loud. I’m… Continue Reading

  • 61 Questions

    In Advice to the Deaf: The Present State of Aural Surgery (1840), John Harrison Curtis addressed to deaf individuals the importance of seeking out an aurist to receive a through examination of the ear. Acknowledging that some of his distant patients might be unable to find a skilled aurist in the countryside, Curtis describes how he put… Continue Reading