Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38

From the New York World

From the New York World.

The Deaf Made to Hear—Singular and Touching Results Attained by a Simple Little Invention.

There has been a great deal of fun made over attempts to make the deaf people hear, and the wonderful Edison with his megaphone has done not a little to encourage the general amusement, but a man deafer than Edison has shown that people born deaf or made deaf by disease can actually be made to hear to a greater or less extent, and so can be freed from many of the inconveniences formerly inseparable from their condition.

This fact was shown yesterday at the Audiphone parlors, No. 41 East Twenty-Second Street, where the Audiphone was exhibited by Mr. Richard S. Rhodes, of Chicago. Dr. George M. Beard, the well-known electrician, in introducing Mr. Rhodes said he had not thoroughly examined the instrument but believed it would prove more serviceable to those who were almost completely deaf than to those who were partially deaf, providing that the auditory nerve was not destroyed. While Dr. Beard was speaking Mr. Rhodes sat listening to him with an Audiphone against the teeth of his upper jaw, and when Dr. Beard had finished Mr. Rhodes rose, and in the high-pitched voice common to deaf people, said Dr. Beard had stated the case exactly. He himself had been deaf for twenty years, and had tried every form of ear trumpet without benefit. He had fallen into the habit of placing his watch between his teeth and listening to its ticking, and one day it suddenly occurred to him that he could hear articulate language in the same manner. He page break
Experiments with the Audiphone on a Class of Deaf Mutes in New York City, Nov. 21, 1879. (From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Paper.)

Experiments with the Audiphone on a Class of Deaf Mutes in New York City, Nov. 21, 1879. (From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Paper.)

page break page 21 then began experiments to find a proper medium for conducting sounds to the ear through the teeth, and after two years perfected the Audiphone, which he has since used. Mr. Rhodes then exhibited the Audiphone and explained the manner of its use.

The interesting part of the exhibition was the introduction of a class of deaf mutes from the Washington Heights Asylum. This class included two young ladies, a young girl, two young men and two boys.

One of the two young ladies adjusted the Audiphone with feminine intuition, and as she had been deaf since the age of two years, Mr. Rhodes attempted with her the experience between two sounds. He pronounced the letters "A" and "O," at the same time making the corresponding deaf mute signs, and after a moment he blind-folded the young lady. Then he pronounced the same letters, varying their order, and each time the young lady raised her finger and made the deaf mute sign of the letter which had been spoken to her. Then chords were played on a piano and on an organ while the young lady held the Audiphone in her mouth, and it was shown that she could hear the sounds perfectly.

The experiment with the other young lady of the class was very touching. She had been born deaf, and she showed the greatest eagerness when she was given an Audiphone and promised that she should hear. The experiments made with the other young lady of the class were repeated successfully with her, and she was then asked if she had ever heard her own voice. She answered in the negative, and she was instructed by means of signs and by placing her hand on Mr. Rhodes' throat so as to feel the vibrations of the vocal chords how to produce sound. Then she was given a double Andiphone—one in which there are two discs between which the voice is thrown—and she page 22 endeavored to make a sound. At first she was unsuccessful, but on the second attempt she made a long, wailing sound which was in strange contrast with the brightness of her face. Her face flushed as she sank into her seat and pulled her veil over her face. The instructor asked her if she had heard her voice, and she answered that she had. She could describe the effect it had upon her only by saying it was "a curious sensation."

Another interesting case was that of a young man who lost his hearing at the age of two years, and who had lost both of his arms by being run over by a railroad car. In spite of his deformity he was able to make himself understood by peculiar movements of the stumps of his arms, and one of the deaf mute young ladies held an Audiphone against his teeth while experiments were made with him. Like the others, the young man was able to hear spoken words and music by means of the Audiphone, although everything was simply a "rumble" to him as to the others. An ingenious test of the relative—and so to speak articulate—powers of hearing of the class was made by Miss Belle Cole, who sang an echo song in which the tones run from very soft to very loud. The deaf mutes were instructed to raise or lower their hands as the sound was more or less intense to them, and it was interesting to watch them as they stood grouped around the piano, upright and rigid, waiting to catch the sound. Then as Miss Cole sang the hands raised and fell, now slowly, now quickly, until when Miss Cole struck a high note the hand of the young lady who had never before heard her voice shot far above her head.

After this song the audience sang, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," and the deaf mutes, who presented a curious sight as they stood facing the people with the Audiphones in their mouths, seemed to enjoy the singing heartily.