The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38
The Audiphone, — Good News for the Deaf
Good News for the Deaf.
An Instrument that Enables Deaf Persons to Hear Ordinary Conversation Readily Through the Medium of the Teeth, and those Born Deaf and Dumb to Hear and Learn to Speak. How it is Done, Etc.
The Audiphone is a new instrument made of a peculiar composition, possessing the property of gathering the faintest sounds (somewhat similar to a telephone diaphragm), and conveying them to the auditory nerve, through the medium of the teeth. The external ear has nothing whatever to do in hearing with this wonderful instrument.
It is made in the shape of a fan, and can be used as such, if desired. (See fig. 1, page 4.)
When adjusted for hearing, it is in suitable tension and the upper edge is pressed slightly against one or more of the upper teeth. (See figs. 2 and 3, pp. 4 and 5.)
Ordinary conversation can be heard with ease. In most cases deafness is not detected, it being generally supposed, as is the experience of the inventor, that the party deaf, is simply amusing himself with the fan.
The instrument also greatly facilitates conversation by softening the voice of the person using it, enabling—even in cases of mutes—the deaf party to hear his own words distinctly.page 4
Those Born Deaf can Hear, and the Dumb are enabled to Learn to Speak.
Mutes, by using the Audiphone according to the directions on page 6, can hear their own voice and readily learn to speak.
Directions for Use.
Fig. 1 represents the natural position of the Audiphone, in which position it is carried (by gentlemen) by attaching it by means of a hook or button to the vest or inside of the coat, where it will be convenient for use and fully concealed. The shape and flexibility of the disc render the Audiphone an excellent fan.
Fig. 2 represents the Audiphone in tension and ready for hearing. It is put in this position by means of the silken cords which are attached to the disc, and which pass down as a single cord under the "wedge" in the handle. By opening the wedge (as seen in Fig. 3) the cord, which now moves freely, should be drawn down until the disc is brought to the proper tension (as seen in Fig. 2) when the wedge is closed and the instrument is held in the position required. Experience will regulate the exact tension needed for each person, and also the tension necessary for different voices, music, distant speaking, etc. In this respect the Audiphone is adjusted to suit sound as an opera glass is adjusted to suit distance.page 5
Fig. 3 represents the position in which the Audiphone should be held for hearing. It should be held loosely in the hand and its upper edge should be placed in easy contact, by a slight pressure, against one or more of the upper teeth, that are the most convenient. In many instances the "eye teeth" give the best results, but a little practice will soon determine the best for hearing. The lower teeth should not come in contact with the Audiphone, nor should the Audiphone be pressed beyond the point of tension at which it has been adjusted, as seen in Fig. 2
A Word Concerning the Very Deaf—False Teeth—And those Using Ear Trumpets.
Persons who have been very deaf for many years, and who are accustomed, wholly or in part, to interpret sound by the movement of the lips of the party speaking, may not readily distinguish the words of the speaker when first using the audiphone, though the sound of these words will be distinctly heard. In all such cases a little practice will be required to enable a deaf party to rely wholly upon sound. Such persons should request a friend to read aloud while they (the listener) should carefully observe the words (as spoken) in a duplicate book or paper. "When this is properly done the deaf person will be sur-prised with what distinctness every word is heard by the use of the audiphone. In this way they educate themselves page 6 to articulate sounds, and soon learn to hear well without observing the movements of the lips.
Persons having false teeth, if they fit firmly, can, notwithstanding, use the Audiphone successfully.
It should be further noted, that persons using such instruments as ear trumpets, etc., which in all cases increase the deafness by concentrating an unnatural force and volume of sound upon the impaired organ, should at once lay aside all such devices on receiving the Audiphone. Such persons, thus accustomed to the unnatural sound, through the ear trumpet, will require some practice to again familiarize themselves with the natural sound of the human voice which, the Audiphone always conveys.
To Learn to Speak.
Mutes will learn to speak by holding the Audiphone against the teeth, as above directed, and practice speaking while it is in this position.
A good exercise is for the mute, at first, to put one hand on the instructor's throat, watch the motion of his lips, while his other hand is on his own throat, the instructor meantime holding the Audiphone to the mute's teeth. The mute will feel the influence of the sound on his hand in the instructor's throat, imitate it in his own throat, will hear the speaker's voice on the Audiphone and will be aided in imitating the speaker by seeing his lips, and will also hear his own voice on the Audiphone, and readily learn to speak.
It is remarkable how rapidly they learn to distinguish words by sound. In a very short time, they have learned to repeat whole sentences spoken to them while blindfolded. It is believed that every mute child may hear and learn to speak by using the Audiphone.page 7
It must be borne in mind, however, that a mute who has never heard has no conception of the meaning of the simplest words. Even though he be very intelligent and highly educated, read and write fluently, and interpret language readily by the motion of the speaker's lips, still he will not understand the most elementary sound until he is taught. He is familiar with visible, but knows nothing of articulate, language. At first, if you ask him to intimate whether or not he hears by means of the Audiphone, he may indicate that he feels a peculiar sensation that is new to him. It will not be long, however, until he realizes that what seemed to him feeling we call sound. Parents and teachers of mutes are, therefore, recommended to begin with the rudiments of language, as in teaching a child of two years.
Mutes enjoy music from the first. A piano or organ should be used daily in their early training, at first resting the handle of the Audiphone on the instrument. Start and stop the music at intervals, until they realize the difference. Then they may withdraw from the piano and gradually ac-custom themselves to the new sensation.
Faithful and patient practice, repeating over and over again the vowels and other simple sounds day after day, must be the ground-work of the mute's articulate education. To expect him to understand the first sounds that reach his brain is like asking the child in the A B C class to read Bacon or Shakspeare.
The Double Audiphone.
This instrument consists of two similar and parallel discs, with the lower edges united, from which a handle extends. The upper edges are separated about a quarter of an inch by beads, and adjusted to the teeth by means of notches. The voice of the mute falls between the discs, and is carried back, thus enabling him to hear his own voice.