Medical & Technological Limits: Adult Hearing Loss Up to the Great War
A Science, Medicine & Culture in the Nineteenth Century Seminar with Graeme Gooday
Graeme Gooday, Professor of History of Science and Technology, University of Leeds
Medical and technological limits: exploiting, evaluating and alleviating adult hearing loss in Britain up to the Great War.
While early 19th century otologists claimed they could ‘cure’ most categories of deafness, by the early twentieth century such boasts were more characteristic of opportunist mail order advertisers. Victorian middle class people who experienced significant auditory loss in adulthood could thus not expect much assistance from physicians in attempting to sustain life among the hearing. Some followed Harriet Martineau’s example and declared their ‘deafness’ publicly by sporting a hearing trumpet to aid conversation. The more self-conscious opted for hearing assistance discreetly disguised in, for example, a ladies’ bonnet or a gentleman’s top hat. Those untroubled by myopia could instead learn lip-reading, or occasionally hand signing. These purported ‘solutions’ to hearing loss were much debated alongside many other aspects of deafness in the Deaf Chronicle founded in 1889, and in its successor periodicals.
Drinks will be served after the seminar and all are welcome.
Website: Diseases of Modern Life
Audience: Open to all