A A A

Silent Drill by Signs – a Scout Sign System from 1934

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 February 2018

Written in 1934 or 1935 by Martin Baker, who was Assistant County Commissioner for the Training of Scouters in Birminmgham, Silent Drill by Signs tells us that,

There is a fascination in Drill by Signs, a sense of good-will, cheeriness and scout atmosphere which is not to be found in Sergeant-Major’s methods.

Those participating experience an increased alertness, and can attain by the Sign method a smartness hitherto impossible, and this without domineering or bullying.

The idea of using Signs for drill is not new- some of the signs are as old as the hills; it is in the method of use that the new feature lies, and it will be found to make all the difference between perfect performance and chaos.

Although Drill by Signs has been taught on the Wood Badge Courses sincve the very beginning of Training, it has not become the onl;y scouty way of moving scouts, because the method lacked one essential of any good drill, an adequate warning.

The Sign given not only showed the Scouts what was required, but it was also the signal to do it!  Hence the brightest moved first, and there was no unanimity of movement, which is the soul of smart drill.

The method here described was first used as a camp-fire item at Oslo, during the “Calgaric Cruise” in the Baltic.  A team of twelve Scouters volunyteered to be drilled by this method, and the success of the attempt prompted others to take it up.  I therefore offer it to Scouters and Guuiders generally as a new and successful method which I believe will prove worth trying.

The Signs I have suggested are a mixture of those taught at Gilwell, American Indian Sign Language, and some made up on the spur of the moment, usually good common sense, descriptive of the required action where possible.

Other Signs may be invented as desired, but keep them simple, and if possible descriptive.

It is interesting to compare the sign used for ‘form line,’ with the Indian sign for ‘soldiers’ in Ernest Thomas Seton‘s 1918 book, Sign Talk.  In the scout version, Baker has the hands held high to be seen more clearly.  Seton was a pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America.  That book was in turn heavily influenced by the U.S. general, Hugh L. Scott, who had learnt Indian signs from a Kiowa, I-See-O.  Click on the images for a larger size.
We have a copy of Seton’s book that is heavily annotated by Paget.

I think our copy of Silent Drill is pretty rare.

Tinnitus in the media…

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 February 2018

Tinnitus frequently appears in newspapers and online news sources. Because anyone who suffers from a chronic condition can get frustrated, despressed and angry at the inabilty of medical science to cure the condition, that makes people ready to grasp at anything that could give them hope, offering to alleviate or cure the condition. Tinnitus is no exception, and below are a few recent stories that cover it, all in this case from the Daily Mail, though other papers and websites could equally have been included.

It pays to be a little sceptical with health stories.  Always ask yourself the questions –

  • who produced the study or studies behind the story?
  • are they reputable researchers, or are they selling something?
  • has the article given the original source where the study is published?
  • is the newspaper story written by someone who knows what they are writing about, or is it a staff writer who is regurgitating a press release which has a positive spin?
  • If the study is based on a group of patients, was it a small number or a large number?

I am not saying these stories are invalid, but the headlines are never written by the author, and they often disguise the facts.  People come away remembering the headlines, not the complete story.  Read these stories, but with caution.

Do YOU suffer from tinnitus? Study reveals ‘resetting’ brain cells using electric currents can alleviate the misery of phantom sounds
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5232433/Study-reveals-resetting-brain-cells-cure-tinnitus.html#ixzz56cL3gYau

Google alert helps to end a former Royal Marine’s 10-year tinnitus hell: Notification highlighted pioneering IPOD-based therapy that has allowed veteran to ‘function again as a human being’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5030949/Royal-Marine-tinnitus-finds-relief-IPOD-therapy.html#ixzz56cMfslW7

Fed up with the noise of modern life? FEMAIL reveals how at home EAR YOGA can help
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5337717/Fed-noise-modern-life.html#ixzz56cV58VzY

Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018 – Suggested reading

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

Tinnitus is an active area for research, because it bothers so many people.  Even if you do not have it, there is a good chance you know someone who has it in some form, ranging from a minor irritation to a serious frustration.  People are looking for cures, but management of the condition seems the most realistic solution for most people.  Here are a few suggested books that might help those who have tinnitus.

For non-experts –

Living with tinnitus and hyperacusis, by Laurence Mckenna, David Baguley and Don McFerran, 2010.

This book has 4 or 5 stars in 75% of the Amazon.co.uk public reviews.

Tinnitus: Questions and Answers, by Jack Vernon and Barbara Sanders, 2001. ISBN-13 978-0205326853

“The questions in this book are from patients. The answers are written for patients and for interested health care providers too. The book covers causes, treatments, and other topics with a format similar to the column written by the author in “Tinnitus Today” magazine.”

For Experts –

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Implementing the Neurophysiological Model, by Pawel Jastreboff and Jonathan Hazell, 2004.  ISBN 0521592569

‘One of the nice things about being asked to review a book is that you get to keep a copy if it – and this is certainly a book well worth keeping. This is a thought-provoking and stimulating book for dipping into, for referring to, for speed-reading and for reading thoroughly from cover to cover. It will be a useful addition to the shelves of professionals who work with people with tinnitus.’ Tinnitus Focus

Tinnitus, by by David Baguley, Gerhard Andersson,‎ Don McFerran,‎ Laurence McKenna, 2nd edition 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1405199896

‘The 2nd edition has been thoroughly updated and revised in line with the very latest developments in the field. The book contains 40% new material including two brand new chapters on neurophysiological models of tinnitus and emerging treatments.’

Tinnitus Awareness Week – Patient Information

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

By Abir Mukherjee @ClinicalLibUCLH

Tinnitus Week is an international event raising global awareness of this condition taking place from 5-11 February 2018. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition. This blog post gives a quick overview of some patient information sources, all of which meet NHS England’s patient information standard.

The Action on Hearing Loss website has a number of free factsheets on its website in addition to a tinnitus helpline number: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/hearing-health/tinnitus/

The British Tinnitus Association believes the condition affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population in the UK. Other details about tinnitus awareness week, information sheets, and a helpline can be accessed at their website: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/h-blog

The website also has a case study of living with tinnitus which is now on BBC news.

NHS Choices defines tinnitus as ‘hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source’ with sufferers describing ‘ringing in the ears’ or ‘buzzing; humming; grinding; hissing or whistling.’ As a starting point for most patient information it can be accessed at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tinnitus/

An overview of symptoms and treatment options is also available from the Patient.co.uk website at: https://patient.info/health/tinnitus-leaflet

ENT UK, a professional membership body that represents Ear, Nose and Throat and its related specialities also has patient information on tinnitus that can be downloaded from: https://www.entuk.org/sites/default/files/files/ENT/About%20Tinnitus%206pp%20DL%20%2809028%29_7_16.pdf.

Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018 – recent research articles on Tinnitus

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

By AbirMukherjee @ClinicalLibUCLH

This blog post examines a small selection of recent research articles on tinnitus in the journal literature following a search on MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycInfo databases, limited to the last two years.

Philips et al (2018) cautiously provide statistical evidence that tinnitus generally improves over time, albeit the effect is highly variable across individuals. Their systematic review and meta-analysis focusses on the natural history of the condition by evaluating long-term progression in participants in the no-intervention control arm of clinical trials.

Wang et al (2018) in another systematic review and meta-analysis focus on the effects of direct current stimulation (tDCS) on patients with tinnitus, as previous studies on tDCS have discussed a reduction in symptoms but demonstrated variable results. They conclude that the pooled results demonstrate a greater reduction in distress for groups treated with tDCS as compared with those administered a sham treatment.

A smaller recent RCT by McKenna et al (2017) investigated whether mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could offer an effective new therapy for tinnitus. The results showed that treatment was effective regardless of initial tinnitus severity, duration, or hearing loss. The authors concluded MBCT is effective in reducing tinnitus severity in chronic tinnitus patients compared to intensive relaxation therapy by reducing psychological distress and disability. As limitations, future studies need to look at the generalizability of this approach and how outcome relates to different aspects of the intervention.

A systematic review in 2017 on environmental noise and permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (Śliwińska-Kowalska et al 2017) found a positive correlation between noise level and hearing loss either at standard or extended high frequencies. However only a limited number of studies met their inclusion criteria and the authors acknowledge that all of the evidence was of low quality. They recommend future studies to provide actionable guidance for personal listening device users.

All of these articles are available at the UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries – contact staff for help accessing full text.

References

McKenna, L., Marks, E.M., Hallsworth, C.A. and Schaette, R., 2017. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 86(6), pp.351-361.

Phillips, J.S., McFerran, D.J., Hall, D.A. and Hoare, D.J., 2018. The natural history of subjective tinnitus in adults: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of no‐intervention periods in controlled trials. The Laryngoscope, 128(1), pp.217-227.

Śliwińska-Kowalska, M. and Zaborowski, K., 2017. WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Permanent Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(10), p.1139. OPEN ACCESS

Wang, T.C., Tyler, R.S., Chang, T.Y., Chen, J.C., Lin, C.D., Chung, H.K. and Tsou, Y.A., 2018. Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Patients With Tinnitus: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 127(2), pp.79-88.

Weeding brings happy discoveries… International Games for the Deaf

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 February 2018

We are in the process of weeding our grey literature collection for the Action on Hearing Loss part of the collection.  There is a wealth of good material, but it is hidden beneath a mountain of old photocopies of articles, mostly of dubious worth to our holdings.  At one time the library catered many groups of people who were unable to use an academic library, so we had speech therapists as well as ENT doctors and teachers of the Deaf using the material.   The Ear Institute part of our Library covers ENT fully and comprehensively, while UCL’s Language and Speech Science Library covers speech and language, and the Institute of Education covers, well, education!  Therefore the Action on Hearing Loss collection focuses on Audiology, Sign Language, Deafness and related areas.

The sort of things we are removing are broadly old and never consulted articles about, among other things, aphasia, stuttering and speech problems, and voice, dating from the 1950s to the 1980s.  Many of these are online now, or held in print form elsewhere.  In the process we are making happy discoveries, and we will gather some of the historical items into archive boxes to better preserve them.

As examples of what we have found, material that was indexed on the card catalogue but would have been hard to search for by topic, in 1958 George E. Robinson, Superintendent of Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society, donated programmes for four International Games for the Deaf, London (1935), Stockholm (1939), Brussels (1953), and Milan (1957).   These will now be put into an archive box together.

Top, the reverse of the Brussels programme, next the London programme showing the Prince of Wales who was patron of the games, then football teams in 1953 and the cover of the Brussels programme.

 

Soviet Education for the Deaf

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 January 2018

Half a century ago the Mayor of Moscow called deaf mutes “living creatures who cannot properly be called human beings, but who only bear an outer resemblance to them.”

Five years later, in 1917, the workers and peasants assumed power in Russia.

The new social system accepted the deaf as useful citizens, and erased the brand that made them outcasts.

The Soviet Government not only recognised the legal rights of deaf mutes, but also provided all the conditions for those rights to be realised. (Pavel Sutyagin, Of those who cannot hear, 1962)

I cannot vouch for the source of Sutyagin’s quotation, but the official was likely to have been Alexander Adrianov, Governor-General of Moscow (1908–1915).  This booklet was produced in 1962, after a vistit to the U.S.S.R. by the World Federation for the Deaf.

After the revolution, all schools came under state control, and a Decree of 10th of December, 1919, ‘the Commisariat of Education was given responsibility for deaf mutes, blind and mentally retarded children.’  The Soviet Education Bulletin continues,

In 1926 and 1927 the Council for People’s Commisars laid down statues for establishments where deaf, dumb, blind and retarded children were educated and called for an improvement in this field, particularly in the training of such young people for socially useful work. Recognising the difficulty of this work, the Soviet Government instituted various incentives to induce teachers to qualify for it (higher saleries, pensions and so on).

Further decrees were issued in 1931 and 1936.  That of 1936 criticised the application of bourgeois “theories which were holding back the correct development of special schools.  This decree abandoned pedology and distributed most children classed as “difficult to educate” among ordinary schools.

In the post-war period special attention has been paid to children needing special education.  New types of vocational schools have been built for the further education of deaf-mutes. (p2)

I suppose ‘pedology’ is an error for pedagogy.  We have a collection of Russian language books, most of which are about to be catalogued by a colleague from the UCL SSEES Library.  I think they were donated by Russian visitors in the 1950s, and 1960s, while I expect some came from visits of groups to the U.S.S.R. by people like our former Librarian, Pierre Gorman.  Most seem to be oral in approach.

Below are some examples from beautifully illustrated books for teaching.  First, a 1965 book with a chapter on space and Yuri Gagarin, the classic soviet hero.

Next a reader for the second class, with gorgeous animal and bird pictures. Note the story of the crane and the fox.

Finally a book that looked to me to be from the 1950s, but is in fact from 1987, again with really good illustrations.

Lenin appears again, as do lots of nature pictures.

After writing this, we came across yet another publication, Overcoming the Silence Barrier by Ilya Gitlits, (1975).  It includes photos by the Deaf Russian photographer, Yuri Polkhovski.

Gitlits, Ilya, Overcoming the Silence Barrier, Novosti (1975).

Vartanyan, Eduard and Gitlits, Ilya (introduction by Sutyagin), Of those who cannot hear, 1962

SCR, Soviet Education Bulletin, 1955 vol 2 (1)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/deaf-hear-russia-like-it-really-is-sign-language-moves-with-times-1427249.html

Job Platt Barrett, F.E.S., Teacher of the Deaf & amateur entomologist -‘signs turn this dreary world of ours into a “little heaven”’

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 12 January 2018

Job Platt Barrett (1838-1916), or J.P. Barrett as he was known, was a long serving and influential Teacher of the Deaf.  Born on the 29th of June, 1838, at Marsden, he began his teaching life with Charles Baker at Doncaster, and was, according to The British Deaf-Mute ‘“articled” after a rough and ready fashion’ on the 6th of January, 1851, when he was 12 (p.170).  He is to be found on the census for April 1851 as an apprentice teacher, on probation, along with Edward Bill of Birmingham, then aged 15, and with two older full apprentice teachers, Samuel Smith and Noah Freeman, both from Leicestershire.  Colleagues of his at Doncaster included Alexander Melville, J.W. North, and Samuel Smith was called, ‘his particular friend’ (British Deaf Mute, p.170).

Leaving Doncaster in June 1857 he became a tutor to a ‘ward in chancery’ but when the child became ill Barrett lost that position.  On the 25th of January, 1858 he was engaged by Thomas James Watson and moved to the Old Kent Road Asylum – we are told as ‘the first teacher from the provinces’ (ibid).  He married Sarah Dodson in Canterbury in 1861.  In 1881 he moved to the new school in Margate, living with his wife Sarah at the nearby village of Birchington, where in his spare time he pursued antiquarian interets in local history, writing historical articles as ‘John Pharos’ (see various obituaries).  He remained at the school until retirement in 1908.  By now a widower, he then moved back closer to London and according to probate records his last address was in Forest Hill (Ephphatha p.469).

In 1896 he estimated that 3,000 pupils had ‘come under his ken’ so he was probably quite influential. He held that the pupil was ‘the important factor for consideration’ and clearly was frustrated by what he called ‘”fads” of Committees, Inspectors, Head-Masters, and of individual teachers’ (British Deaf Mute, p.170-1).  He wanted an association for teachers that was ‘sufficiently powerful to prevent such ill-advised appointments as have recently taken place’ (ibid).  I wonder to whom he was referring?

The article shows him to have been in favour of sign language, in the perhaps paternalistic way that some in favour of the ‘combined’ method had.  I leave the reader to judge:

Another point that he is not afraid to speak out strongly upon, is the use (and misuse) of signs.  Whenever he hears anyone condemn the use of signs in toto, he invariably asks: Can the speaker sign fluently?  Has he or she a thorough acquaintance with the language of signs?  Without that knowledge the importance and the power of signs are unknown and unappreciated.  He adds that only an expert signer can fully recognise the pleasure that the afflicted congenital deaf-mute derives from signs.  To him, signs turn this dreary world of ours into a “little heaven,” they are both poetry and music to him, and for those intellects are not of the brightest, and their number is large, signs are an absolute necessity.

Much has been done for the deaf and dumb during the past century, but Mr. Barrett points out that the education of a deaf and dumb child still begins as it always has done at zero, and the pupils at the beginning of this century were equally well taught with these of the present day. (ibid, p.171)

His life was touched by tragedy after he retired in 1908.  On the 28th of December, on a holiday visiting his son Arthur in Sicily, where he spent time looking for butterflies, they narrowly escaped death in the terrible earthquake, only for his daughter-in-law Jemima, and his grandson Claude (born in April 1905) to be killed (see obituaries and www.ancestry.co.uk).   His son, a merchant, returned to England, and remarried in 1913.*

Barrett was an avid entomologist all his life.  I expect he was encouraged in that interest when he was with Charles Baker, as Baker had earlier produced a book on butterflies when he was at the Birmingham Institute in 1828.  Richard Elliott says in one of his three obituaries of Barrett that,

In the course of many years he collected and arranged a collection of British insects, which, we hear, he has left to the British Museum.  We believe it one of the most complete in existence, and is worthy of his fame as one of the first entomologists of the present day. (Ephphatha, Elliott p.469)

In fact the collection went to the Horniman Museum, at least according to the obituary in The Entomologist’s record and journal of variation (p.44).  There are two obituaries of him in Entomological journals.  He was one of the key people behind the foundation of the South London Entomological Society, which eventually became The British Entomological and Natural History Society.

It was at his house in Peckham the South London Entomological and Natural History Society was founded.  1872 is the accepted date but informal meetings were held there a year or two previously.  He was elected President in 1877 but resigned membership just before his removal to Margate, and did not rejoin til 1900. (H.M[oore])

Moore also tells us that

Since his retirement from active work, in 1908, he had for some years given an evening’s entertainment to the deaf of South London, to which he frequently invited the writer, who felt himself the only deaf person present.  Those who were at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society last year will remember the “tale of a tramp,” told by the President, that Mr. Platt-Barrett told on his fingers to his deaf and dumb guests shortly afterwards, who laughed as heartily as the fellows who heard it.

His friend of fifty years, G.T. Porritt, says in his obituary (The Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine) that he was one of the founders of the South London Entomological Society, “practically the founder […] The meetings were first held at his house in Peckham where he acted as the Secretary, becoming the third Presdient, in 1877” (Porritt, p.69).

He gets a mention in Michael A. Salmon et al’s The Aurelian Legacy (2000), though the authors, who gave him the wrong Christian name, thought Barrett had a hearing loss, probably assuming that as he was at the Doncaster Institution he was Deaf, whereas he was training as a teacher, and from a misunderstanding of the passage above, where Barrett was hearing a story then interpreting it to his Deaf friends.**

He died on the 27th of December, 1916.  His wife had predeceased him in 1883, and after retirement he went to live with his daughters.  He was buried in Burchington, at her side.

The top picture shows him in 1857, the second one is to be found in both his obituary in Ephphatha and Teacher of the Deaf.

He clearly had the respect of Richard Elliott, who says,

Mr. Barrett was a real friend of the deaf and dumb.  He was never tired of advocating their interests, or of trying to serve them.  He had a real knowledge of their mentality, and a full power of communicating with, and influencing them by that means.  (British Deaf Times, p.45)

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/1198262/person/24108738661/facts [log in required]

Biography. British Deaf-Mute, 1896, 5, 170-71. (photos)

Census 1851 – Class: HO107; Piece: 2347; Folio: 193; Page: 32; GSU roll: 87606

Elliott, R., Mr J.P. Barrett, Ephphatha, 1917 p.468-9 (photo)

Elliott, R., Mr J. Platt Barrett, Teacher of the Deaf, 1917 vol. 15 p.20-22 (photo)

Elliott, R., The Late Mr J.P. Barrett, The British Deaf Times, 1917, Vol. 14 p.44-5

H.M. [H. Moore], Obituary, The late J. Platt-Barrett, F.E.S., The Entomologist’s record and journal of variation, 1917 vol. 39 (2), p.43-4

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Consulate, Palermo, Italy and predecessor: Miscellanea; Class: FO 653; Piece: 21

Porritt, H.M., J. Platt Barrett, The Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine, 1917, vol. 53 p. 69-70

  • There is often mention of ‘fosse comuni’ (mass grave), but my Sicilian born colleague is unsure where they are. The Cimitero Monumentale, where some of the dead were buried in Messina, has an English section.  The house was at Via Pozzo Leone, 5: https://tinyurl.com/y8cxvmo6
  • **This was then picked up on by Harry G. Lang and Jorge A. Santiago-Blay in their article ‘Contributions of deaf people to entomology: A hidden legacy,’ where they naturally assume that Barrett – Job not James – was Deaf.  That article is however well worth reading.

Hon. Venetia Marjorie Mabel Baring, 1890-1937 – “Deafness and Happiness”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 22 December 2017

Venetia Marjorie Mabel Baring was a daughter of Francis Denzil Edward Baring, 5th Baron Ashburton.  In 1930 she wrote a booklet Deafness and Happiness, our copy being the 1935 reprint.  It was published by A.R. Mowbray, who produced religious and devotional books.  It is on vey good quality paper.  According to the short introduction by “A.F. Bishop of London” who seems to be Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram, she was “afflicted in the heyday of her youth with almost total deafness” (p.iii).  Her photographic portrait is in the National Portrai Gallery collection, and a drawing of her is in the Royal Collection.

She was born in London in 1890.  She wrote her book with the encouragement of Winnington-Ingram.  Below is a page from the book which gives a flavour of its religious polemic.  It is certainly of interest to anyone who is fascinated by attitudes to deafness and how they have or have not changed over the years.

In 1936, Arthur Story wrote a letter to the BMJ about deafness.  Venetia Baring wrote a respose, echoing his words and developing her own ideas about deafness:

The helplessness of medical science where deafness is concerned is incontestable, and, as it is not of itself a menace to life, research into causes has suffered on financial grounds in comparison with other diseases. The complete lack of official understanding of deafness was painfully illustrated in the great war, when it was necessary for a few public-spirited individuals like the late Sir Frederick Milner to fight for the rights of deafened ex-Service men.  There are certainly signs that the medical profession is becoming increasingly alive to the fact that the monster is hydra-headed and that there are few mental and physical disorders to which it does not prove an open door unless intelligently handled.

From the last line of this letter we learn that she was “not born deaf, had acute hearing up to 19, and used no “aids” to nearly 30″ (ibid).

She died aged only 47 on the 15th of July, 1937, having suffered from serious illness before then.  Indeed, she added a chapter to the second edition of her book on ‘The Power and Use of Pain.’  “Science is working for the abolition of suffering; but it will never succeed, because, while sin exists, pain is inevitable and can even be a vital factor in the development of human personality.” (p.37)   She was clearly someone who had experienced pain and tried to work her own way through it.

It would be interesting to find out more about her.

Peerage.com

Baring, Venetia, The Deaf and the Blind Br Med J 1936; 1 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.3934.1134 (Published 30 May 1936)

“in silence is his body born again” – Muted Voices – Romanian writer Eugen Relgis

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 15 December 2017

In Glasuri in surdină, translated in 1938 as Muted Voices, Romanian writer Eugen Relgis wrote a memoir that in style seems more like a novel.  Our copy is beatifully printed and bound with expressive woodcut engravings by the French artist and anarchist, Louis Moreau and translated by Rose Freeman-Ishill.  Our central character is Miron, who is we might suppose Eugen himself.  He describes the children playing leap-frog:

The child-frog falls and strikes his head against a stone.  He is not hurt but his suffering weeps and cries, naive and exaggerated.  Miron caresses him with one with the remorse of one who has caused an involuntary ill.  “Be silent, Ermil, be silent” – and his hand gently glides over the lump on the other’s forehead- “Be silent, it will pass away… I will give you my little wooden horse…”

Ermil, appeased, dries his tears.  Miron, touched, kisses him upon moist lips.

And, at the moment of the kiss, Miron’s fate is sealed.  Oh ! occult forces, inexorable laws indifferent to all the tenderness, all the beauty of the human heart!  The demons have shattered their joy!  A kiss, a simple childish kiss, an altogether natural kiss of affection…

And evil  spirits have taken possession of Miron! […] the invisible germ of Disease. (p.19)

His description of illness and ‘Disease,’ make it seem like the struggles of a writhing beast –

and the carnivorous animals lodged within the body gnaw and claw and rend. […] The body bends like a bow and the blasphemies of dearth seethe in the skull.  The waves make their weight particularly felt in the ears which are filled with whistlings and where cascades thunder and fall…  A howling like a cataclysmic eruption, the howling of life who would not be annihilated… and the eardrums burst beneath that pressure. (p.23)

It is a powerful and strange writing style. He ends the chapter with poetic prose-
And the child regards the silence, – and the child
breathes the silence – and his life palpitates in
silence, – in silence is his body born again, –
in the umbrageous refuge of silence…

Silence… silence… silence…

A complex and fascinating man, Relgis was born into a Jewish family in Romania in 1895, as Eisig D. Sigler, though he used various spellings of his surname and the name Eugen/Eugene.  He was a part of the Romanian Symbolist movement, and although he trained as an architect he became a writer and publisher.  Politically he was an anarchist, but he also had what now seem quite extreme eugenicist views, saying “Instead of natural selection, man should practice rational selection.”  (see his Wikipedia page)
He died in Uruguay in 1987

The Gallaudet website, in a review of the anthology of deaf writers Angels and outcasts : an anthology of deaf characters in literature (1985), has this interesting comment on Miron:

Relgis’ hero, while not unique, is not really representative of the deaf majority. The deaf Steppenwolf, the lone deaf outsider, is rarely encountered in real life in the United States. In Europe and elsewhere, for historical reasons there exists a sharp cleavage between deaf intellectuals and artists and the deaf man in the street, so that there such outsiders account for a much larger proportion of the deaf population.

The book, and Relgis, are both worthy of closer inspection.

Relgis, Eugen, Muted Voices, New Jersey (1938)

http://militants-anarchistes.info/spip.php?article5046&lang=fr