Latest posts by Dr. Kevin H. Ivory (see all)
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The first recorded hearing loss assisting device dates back to 1550 BC. It was in Ancient Egypt. The treatment consisted of injecting olive oil, bat wings, goat urine, ant eggs, and red lead into the ears. Although the “cure” was recorded no information was offered as to what it did or didn’t do to the patient. One can only wonder what it really did do to the patient.
Hearing loss has always attacked human beings. Some cases have been much worse than others. No matter what, there have always been people who have believed they can cure the problem. Let’s look at some of these “old remedies.”
As early as the 13th century, people who had hearing loss used hallowed out horns from animals such as cows and rams. These were then used as hearing devices. A few centuries later, the “modern” ear trumpet was invented. According to historians, this funnel-shaped device was used for treating hearing loss. The trumpet collected sound and funneled it through a narrow tube into the ear. Apparently, they worked to some degree, although a very small degree.
When the telephone was invented along with the use of electricity, these had an impact on the development of hearing aids and other assistive hearing devices. Thomas Edison was hearing impaired. In 1870 he invented a carbon transmitter for the telephone. It amplified the electrical signal while increasing the decibel level by about 15 decibels. Today it is believed that about 30 dB is necessary to hear. However, Edison’s invention offered some help.
In more recent times, one man has claimed his hearing loss was cured by using hypnosis. The man was David Quigley. He said his healer put her “delicate spirit fingers” into his ears. Following this, within weeks, he heard perfectly.
Another alleged healing process is the hearing loss pill. The claim is that it can cure hearing loss within 60 days (or, if not, of course, your money will be refunded). One part of the disclaimer reads, from the testimonials that are listed on their website, that these are some of their better results and are not typical.
Another hearing loss cure was named nasopharyngeal irradiation. Physicians pioneered it at Johns Hopkins. Not only was it said to treat hearing loss, but the pioneers also claimed it helped problems with tonsillitis, allergies, and colds. It was no longer used after the mid-60s. Here’s the procedure. The physicians threaded radium-tipped probes up through the nostrils. They suggested this would shrink the swollen lymphoid tissue located at the back of the nose. It seems good that this procedure is no longer used. And to think it came from Johns Hopkins.
Perhaps one of the most interesting people in history was musician Beethoven. When he was in his 20’s, he suffered from ringing or buzzing in his ears. Today this is referred to as tinnitus. He went to many doctors in Europe looking for a cure. One doctor told him he needed to isolate himself. He was instructed to rest his ears. Gosh, it didn’t work. Another doctor prescribed almond oil earplugs. Again, it didn’t work. He continued to try, and the next idea was galvanism. This was a method of passing an electrical current through the part of the body suffering problems to stimulate it. Hmmm, it didn’t work either. So, he gave up and returned to his work.
Some people attempted using artificial eardrums. These little devices sent sound resonating through the auditory canal. Like the others, they didn’t work. They were also painful to insert in the ear as they were often made out of metal.
Fortunately, today, we have valid ways to help with those suffering from hearing impairment. To find out what is presently available for a loss, you should make an appointment with your medical care professional. You will start with a hearing test, which is painless.
Sometimes you will need medical treatment for your hearing loss. This might involve some type of operation. One of the best ways to hear once again is via hearing aids. More people use these devices than any other type of treatment. They are becoming smaller and offering many more technological advances each year.
Depending on your situation, there are a variety of other ways to help you. Some of these include assistive listening, signaling and text display systems, digital cell phones and hearing aid use, cochlear implants, aural rehabilitation, and different types of treatments. If you suffer from hearing loss it will be worth your time to seek help.