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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38

From the Philadelphia Record

From the Philadelphia Record.

The Deaf Hear—Experiments at the Deaf and Dumb Asylum—Deaf People Hear the Sound of Their Own Voices for the First Time in Many Years.

In the parlors of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum was yesterday demonstrated the Audiphone, by which the deaf can hear. It is the invention of Mr. R. S. Rhodes, a man who is accounted "hard of hearing." Before experimenting, he explained that the Audiphone was used by placing the instrument against the upper teeth when addressed. He said that where the physical conditions of the persons using the Audiphone are the same the results are the same. Any person having the use of the auditory nerve is enabled to hear through the instrument, but those who have lost the power of this nerve through disease or sickness could not be made to hear.

page 30

While Mr. Rhodes was speaking Mr. Curly, of the institution was explaining his words by tìnger signs to some dozen of the inmates of the aslyum who had been brought into the parlor.

Mr. Rhodes also read a letter from the principal of St. Joseph's Institute, at Fordham, in which the results of some experiments were given. It read that out of thirty inmates experimented upon, five, who were entirely deaf, could hear with the Audiphone, sixteen, who could slightly hear the sound of an organ, could hear distinctly, and nine, who barely discerned the sound of the voice, could hear perfectly.

G. B. Gimball explained that his sister, who had been very deaf for a long time, was enabled to hear through the Audiphone quite well. Last Sunday she visited church, and for the first time in seven years, was able to hear and appreciate the sermon.

Ida Brooks, a child of the institution, who had been deaf since birth, was then experimented upon. The Audiphone, which is a fan-shaped instrument, slightly curved by means of a string while in use, was placed against her upper teeth and she then heard a note of the piano at a distance of twelve feet. She was also able to repeat the sounds of letters after Mr. Rhodes. The double telephone was then placed between her teeth, and with it she was able to hear her own voice plainly.

Catherine Lewis, a young lady, also an inmate of the asylum, ordinarily was able to hear a very loud voice. With the Audiphone she could hear and repeat words uttered in a conversational key.

Samuel Davidson a young man of seventeen years, who had been deaf for over ten years, was the next object of attention. He had lost his hearing from disease, and was able only to hear a noise, but could not distinguish the difference in sound. The young man was handed a book to read, in page 31 which Mr. Rhodes read the same passage aloud. With the aid of the instrument the young man was able to follow the reading, and to distinguish each word.

Julia Fooley, a young lady who had the use of her voice, but who could not hear any sound, was the last one to try the instrument. Miss Fooley is an expert reader from the motion of the lips, and readily understood enough of questions to answer that she lost her hearing from brain fever eight years ago. Since that time she had never heard a sound, not even of her own voice. The Audiphone was placed in position in her mouth, and she distinctly heard a note struck upon the piano. With the use of the double instrument she read a few sentences from a book, and was able to distinguish what she said. In explanation the young lady said, while her eyes sparkled with pleasure: "I can hear myself, but it is inconvenient to speak with this in my mouth."

In order to test the power of the Audiphone thoroughly, Miss Fooley was requested to raise and lower her hand according to the high or low note struck on the piano. As she had had no training upon the piano before her sickness she could not distinguish a high key from a low one. But she lowered and raised her hand according to the volume of sound.