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“Lamentable Death of a Medical Man” or how not to treat tinnitus – Joseph Toynbee

H Dominic W Stiles12 August 2016

Joseph Toynbee

Lincolnshire born Joseph Toynbee (1815-66) was a pioneer otologist.  He attended school in King’s Lynn, then was apprenticed to William Wade of the Westminster General Dispensary, and later on at St George’s and University College Hospitals (Weir).  In 1842 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, surely one of the youngest fellows, for “his researches demonstrating that articular cartilage, the cornea, the crystalline lens, the vitreous humour, and the epidermal appendages contained no blood-vessels” (Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows).  He was early on an opponent of the ‘aurists’ like John Harrison Curtis, writing letters to The Lancet on the matter. Curtis claimed that some deafness came “from a want of action of the ceruminous glands” – that is a lack of wax.

Toynbee belongs to the great set of scientists, like John Scott Haldane, who tried self-experimentation. In the case of Toynbee this did not end well. The Leeds Mercury begins its story on Toynbee’s end as follows:

Lamentable Death of a Medical Man
Yesterday afternoon a very painful investigation took place before Mr. C. St. Clare Bedford and a select jury at the New Vestry-hall, St. James’s, Piccadilly […] which was caused by the inhalation of chloroform and cyanic acid while prosecuting experiments for the advancement of science. […]
He was continually in the habit of making experiments on himself for scientific purposes and for the relief of suffering mankind (The Leeds Mercury).

His man-servant George Power described how he saw a patient in the afternoon for a few minutes. Shortly after another patient called & Power entered the room to find Toynbee lying with a piece of cotton wool over his nose and mouth. He thought he was asleep but removing the cotton wool realised that something was wrong then ran off down Savile Row trying to get another doctor to assist, to no avail. In the meantime Dr. Orlando Markham, a colleague from St. Mary’s hospital, had heard that Toynbee was in need of help, but arrived to find him dead. With another friend, Dr. Arthur Leared, they tried artificial respiration for half an hour. It seems from papers and a watch on his chairs, that he was trying “The effect of inhalation of the vapour of chloroform for singing in the ears so as to be forced to the tynpanum, either by being taken in by the breath through a towel or a sponge, producing a beneficial sensation or warmth”,  and “The effect of chloroform combined with hydrocyanic acid”.  He died on the 7th of July 1866, either from the chloroform, or the combination (The Morning Post, Leeds Mercury).  

Toynbee 2We have a copy of Toynbee’s A Descriptive Catalogue of Preparations Illustrative of the Diseases of the Ear in the Museum of Joseph Toynbee that must have been given by Toynbee as it is signed ‘from the author’, to Henry Hancock the surgeon, like Toynbee one of the original 300 fellows of the Royal College of SurgeonsHe was not an ENT specialist, so perhaps that is why he then donated the book to the Charing Cross Hospital with which he had a long association.  The Catalogue describes items in Toynbee’s collection, which ended up in the Hunterian but was lost during the war in an air raid.  A page here shows that foreign bodies in ears are not new!Toyb

In the introduction he writes,

When, in the year 1839, I entered upon a systematic study of the diseases of the ear, the conviction was soon forced upon me, that its pathology had been almost entirely neglected. This conviction induced me to commence a series of dissections of that organ, which have continued up to the present time, and now amount to 1,659.

Toynbee 3

Above is a page from his book  The diseases of the ear: their nature, diagnosis, and treatment (1868) which demonstrates use of a eustachian catheter.

An experiment in chloroform (from the website of our friend)  Dr. Jaipreet Virdi-Dhesi, From the Hands of Quacks

Curtis J.H., Employment of creosote in deafness. Lancet 1838, 31 328-30

The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Thursday, July 12, 1866; Issue 8813. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900

The Morning Post (London, England), Wednesday, July 11, 1866; pg. 3; Issue 28886. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900

Mudry A., The making of a career: Joseph Toynbee‘s first steps in otology. J Laryngol Otol. 2012 Jan;126(1):2-7. doi: 10.1017/S0022215111002465. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Neil Weir, ‘Toynbee, Joseph (1815–1866)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/27647, accessed 12 Aug 2016] 

James Kerr Love, Scottish Aurist, friend of Helen Keller, 1858-1942

H Dominic W Stiles22 July 2016

Kerr Love 2James Kerr Love was one of the leading British otologists of the early 20th century, but will be remembered more for his involvement with deaf children and his friendship with Helen Keller than for his surgical skills (BMJ, 1942).

It was this less spectacular work that lay nearest to his heart, and he spared himself nothing in its pursuit. […] In Dr. Kerr Love they had for many years a sympathetic and tireless champion, who wrote, lectured, and organized on their behalf with unflagging energy (ibid).

He was born in Beith, Ayrshire, a ‘son of the manse’. He was educated in Glasgow High School and the University of Glasgow, becoming an M.D. in 1888 writing his thesis, The Limits of Hearing (ibid, & BDM p.128). He was a surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary for thirty years, and worked for the Glasgow Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. It was with his colleague, Dr. Addison, head of that Institute, and later Missioner for the deaf in Salisbury diocese, that he wrote the book Deaf Mutism (1896). His father-in-law was the Rev. Joseph Corbet or Corbett. He died on the 30th/31st of May, 1942, at Sunnyside, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.

It is hard to summarise Kerr Love’s views on education, and he does stress that it is a matter for teachers. Let us look at a couple of passages with his own words.  At the end of his 1906 book, Diseases of the Ear, he says:

So far as State arrangements for the education of the deaf and dumb are concerned, it seems to the author that in every large community two schools for the deaf should exist:

1. One containing all the semi-deaf, the totally deaf with much residual speech, and the ordinary deaf mute who makes good progress on the oral method. Nothing but the oral method should be adopted in this institution. Signs should be used as little as possible, and finger spelling should be prohibited. All deaf children should pass their first year in this school.
2. A school min which the finger method or a combination of the oral and finger methods is taught. It is the writer’s opinion that at least half of the deaf-mute children would ultimately find their way into this second school (p.320).

He seems to have maintained this view that sign language was only good enough for those unable to learn spoken language, writing in 1936 (in The Deaf Child, p.109):

Some of the schools describe themselves as oral schools, some as combined schools. But if it is difficult to define a combined method, it is more difficult to define a combined method school.

I am now speaking of the institutions and not of the day-schools, and I state that, apart from those in Manchester and London, all the residential institutions I have visited are combined schools. Only in these two cities do arrangements exist for the separation of the defective deaf, who should be taught manually, from the ordinary deaf child, who should be taught orally (p.109).

It is probably unfair to give a couple of quotes out of the full context of his thought, and his views seem more nuanced than these quotations might make him appear. His work is worthy of consideration in the history of deaf education in the period from 1890 to the 1930s, as he was well known and widely read, being involved in the foundation of the National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf. They published his monograph consisting of four essays, The Causes and Prevention of Deafness (1912).

We see him here with his friend, Helen Keller. She was such a celebrity, perhaps one of the first modern celebrities, that everyone wanted to meet her or be seen with her, poets, politicians, doctors etc. Selwyn Oxley contacted Kerr Love when she came to the UK in 1932, as he too wanted to meet her. I love Kerr Love’s reply: “I cannot see what she can make of your library unless it be in Braille.” These notes were later stuck into a copy of one of his books by Oxley.Kerr Love note 1

Kerr Love note 2Kerr LoveKerr Love, J. & W.H. Addison.  Deaf-mutism.  1904

Kerr Love, J. & W.H. Addison.  The education of the deaf and (so-called) dumb: two papers, by James Kerr Love and W.H.Addison. Glasgow: Philosophical Society of Glasgow, 1893.

Kerr Love, J. & W.H. Addison.  A statement on the subject of methods of education, by James Kerr Love, with remarks thereon by W.H.Addison. Glasgow: James Cameron, 1893.

Kerr Love, James (ed).  Helen Keller in Scotland, a personal record written by herself.  1933

Kerr Love, James. Deafness and Common Sense. 1936

Obituary: James Kerr Love, M.D., LL.D. The British Medical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4250 (Jun. 20, 1942), p. 775

Deaf-mutism, by J. Kerr Love, & W.H. Addison, (review) The British Deaf-Mute p.126-8, Vol. 5 1895-6

“Breeders of the Deaf” – Percival Macleod Yearsley’s ‘self advertisement’

H Dominic W Stiles22 March 2016

In the 1920s eugenics was a very hot subject, an area of much concern to Percival Macleod Yearsley (1867-1951).  Percival was a cousin (twice removed) of James Yearsley the great aural surgeon.  Yearsley was formerly consulting aural surgeon to St. James’ Hospital, Balham, and to the London County Council.  He died at Gerrard’s Cross on May 4, 1951 at the age of 83.  He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and the Westminster and London Hospitals.  In 1893 he was appointed to the staff of the old Royal Ear Hospital in Soho, becoming senior surgeon, and

he was the first aural surgeon to the London County Council, for whom he carried out important investigations among school-children.  He also interested himself in the welfare of deaf-mutes.  A man of many interests, Macleod Yearsley wrote some delightful fairy tales, studied the story of the Bible, discussed the sanity of Hamlet and doctors in Elizabethan drama, took a scientific interest in the Zoological Society, translated Forel’s Sensations des insectes, and was an archaeologist of repute. In his own specialty he wrote a Textbook on Diseases of the Ear (1908) and another on Nursing in Diseases of the Throat, Nose and Ear.  Later he became greatly interested in the Zund-Burguet electrophonoid treatment of deafness, on which he wrote a monograph in 1933.  Energetic, open-minded, and many-faceted, he was looked upon as rather a stormy petrel by his contemporaries; but he mellowed with time, to be regarded with respect and admiration by otologists of today. (Obituary in the Lancet, 1951)

Percival McLeod Yearsley's signature in a copy of his cousin's The Artificial Tympanum

Percival MacLeod Yearsley’s signature in a copy of his cousin’s book The Artificial Tympanum

The letter, a follow up to a much longer letter signed by a number of notable people, appears in a scrap page from Ernest Ayliffe’s collection of various odd documents and letters, with associated cuttings, and the page is dated ‘Feb 22/29’.   The year was 1929, the newspaper the Daily Mail.

Breeders of the Deaf

Sir,- For the past twenty-one years I have been advocating the sterilisation of those who are responsible for the perpetuation of a considerable section of our “deaf-mutes.” But hitherto such advocacy has fallen upon deaf ears.

There are numerous examples in our deaf schools all over the country of born deaf children whose disability is due to what is known as “true hereditary deafness,” a condition which, in its propagation, follows the Mendelian theory.
Dr. Kerr Love, of Glasgow, and I have published for years past a considerable amount of work upon this question, and have shown that, while there are hearing carriers of deafness whom it be difficult to sterilise, owing to the practical impossibility of recognising them until they produce deaf children, those who are born hereditarily deaf breed true, and can be safely expected to do so.

These are the cases which require sterilisation, and I have a considerable number of family trees showing this sure method of perpetuation of deafness.

I need not expatiate upon the advantage to the race and to the State if this form of deafness could be eliminated, but I would point out that the education of a normal hearing child costs approximately £5 18s., while that of a deaf child is £69 18s. 10d.

This gives an additional reason for sterilisation of the unfit, and it is satisfactory to see that the letter published contains the names of bishops as well as of men of science.
MACLEOD YEARSLEY, F.R.C.S., F.R.A.I.
81 Wimpole street, W.1.

As you see, Ayliffe added some comments –

Comments
Wish to call attention to this very damaging letter to the cause of the Deaf.

Whatever the merits of the system it is a brutal one.
May be justification for it in a few cases- but very few.
Why Deaf & Dumb! Why not blind. You get some cases to my certain knowledge – generations of them (in few cases likewise)
Why not M.Ds?
Why not the vicious?
Why not criminals?
[pencil] Difficulty of appeal [pencil]
Our appeal for the Deaf is very seriously jeopardised by such a letter.
Can anything be done by the committee to counteract it?
[pencil] Implications by quotation from Kerr Love
Ought we to repudiate the whole thing or let Yearsley get away with his self advertisement? [pencil]

B.D.D.A. – [pencil] Indignation – but –

N.I.D.

Ayliffe’s comment there seems to expose Yearsley.  His understanding of the new science of genetics does not seem to be great.  Despite his other certain talents, in this letter he comes across as a shameless self-promotor, a mere shadow of his relative.Breeders of the deaf 001

Percival Macleod Yearsley Lancet. 1951 May 19;1(6664):1130.

Updated 23/12/2016 with photograph of Yearsley from Teacher of the Deaf

 

 

“… we can easily mop the orifice …” – Macnaughton Jones and Tinnitus

H Dominic W Stiles12 February 2016

jones 1The Irish otologist, gynaecologist and ophthalmologist Henry Macnaughton Jones was the son of Thomas Jones, a doctor from Cork (see obituary for what follows).  He spent most of his early career locally, founding the Cork Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, which was later known as the Victoria Hospital.  Moving to London in 1883, he concentrated on obstetrics and gynaecology.  He married when he was only twenty-two, and in the 1911 census we can see that there were three surviving children.  His obituary tells us that “His Handbook on Diseases of the Ear and Naso-pharynx passed through six editions”.

jones 6 titleThe book we are interested in today,Subjective Noises in the Head and Ears: Their Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment was published in 1891.  He dedicated the book to the pioneer ‘Father of Modern Scientific Otology’, Dr. Adam Politzer , who perused the text and “did not consider it necessary to add any notes to the work.”  (Weir and Mudry, p.104, Macnaughton Jones, p.iv).  Jonathan Hazell surveys this book, one of the few that cover tinnitus at that period.  Macnaughton Jones follows on from Jean Marie Gaspard Itard (1775-1838), famous for  his work with the ‘wild Boy of Aveyron’, as a pioneer of tinnitus research.

One method that Macnaughton Jones tried to treat tinnitus, was with a galvanic battery, though he was not convinced of its use.  “It is uncertain in its effects, frequently causing grave aggravation of the subjective noises […] The dosage of it is difficult to measure.  In the hands of those not accustomed to electrical manipulation it is a mosyt haphazard treatment in that form of nerve disturbance that requires technical skill in manipulation, and fineness of adjustment in appliance. (p.128-9)

Our copy is signed ‘with the author’s compliments’.  The book is illustrated throughout with pictures of instruments that are laible to induce a shudder in those of a nervous disposition, such as Turnbull’s Eustacian Forceps, Eustachian Tube Electrode, Knife for Paracentesis Tympani, Mr Adam’s Septum Punch, a Nasal Saw and ‘The Author’s Nasal Shears’!  In his chapter, Treatment – the Middle Ear, he discusses tympanic catheters –

If the surgeon is determine to try to inject the tympanum through the Eustachian tube, it is as well to use one of Weber-Liel’s tympanic catheters, with a Pravaz syringe.  With this appliance, if the Eustachian tube be papent, we can safely inject the tympanum with the desired solution (vide “Handbook,” Fig. 46).  With such forceps as that of Turnbull (Fig.50), we can easily mop the orifice of the Eustachian tube and the posterior nares with any solution we desire.  I must confess that I do not of late resort to the use of chloride of ammonia vapour as frequently as I used to.  Still, it is a remedy worth trying in those cases of tinnitus in which we have general naso-pharyngeal relaxation and accumulation of mucus in the naso-pharynx and the Eustachian tubes.  It matters little which inhaler we use, provided we get the neutral fumes for imnhalation.  Kerr’s inhaler was one of the first used, and it is a very simple one.  […] If we desire to pump some of this vapour or that of iodiner into the tympanum through the Eustachian tube, we can easily do so by means of my autoinsufflating bag.

Some years since I had cigarettes made containing iodoform and eucaluptus for smikong purposes.  I found that the iodoform was in great measure disguised by the eucalyptus, and more so, by vanillin or coumarin

I have had them made with a little crowsfoot leaf.  These can be smoked through the nose, and some of the vapour may be passed behind the naso-pharynx, or by Valsalva’s method, into the tympanum.*

*Messrs. Corbyn, Stacey and Co.

We also see illustrated below, massage techniques, and he says that while “I do not pretend to explain how it acts, but it has in some cases decidedly beneficial effect”.

Macnaughton Jones died in Hampstead, in 1918.

jones 5 koniontronjones 4 menthol inhalerjones 3 terapeutical

HENRY MACNAUGHTON-JONES, M.D., M.Ch., M.A.O., F.R.C.S.I. and Edin, Br Med J 1918;1:521 B doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.2992.521-a (Published 04 May 1918)

Hazell, Jonathan, Tinnitus, (1987)

Weir, Neil, and Mudry, Albert, Otorhinolaryngology : an illustrated history (2nd ed., 2013)

Census 1911 Class: RG14; Piece: 601

Adrien Célestin Soret, radiologist, meteorologist and inventor of the first binaural hearing aid in 1915

H Dominic W Stiles26 June 2015

Since his death, Adrien Célestin Marie Soret, (7th July 1854- 1931), Chevalier Légion d’honneur (1924), has fallen into obscurity, yet from what little I have discovered, he deserves to be much better known.  He was the son of a lemonade maker and was educated at Tonnerre, Beauvais, Orléans and Havre.  A commemorative plaque at his birthplace tells us “Driven by a concern for popularizing science, in 1886 he organized municipal courses which dealt with current scientific issues such as the effects of electricity and the discovery of X -rays.”  He then turned to photography, creating the Le Havre Society of Photography.

He is here as he is the inventor of the first binaural hearing aid, a fact that seems to have been forgotten by many.  I came across this in the book Binaural Hearing Aids by Andreas Markides (1977), where Soret gets a very brief mention.  That was because of this U.S. patent for a binaural hearing device, in 1915.  However, it is hard to find out how widely it was used and I could not find his name in Berger’s The Hearing Aid: its Operation and Development (1984).

AudiphoneIn Learning to Hear (1970), Edith Whetnall & D.B. Fry of the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital’s Nuffield Centre, wrote

The man with the monacle excites immediate attention.  The ophthalmologist who prescribed only a monacle for a patient with defective vision in both eyes would be regarded as a little odd.  The situation is completely opposite with hearing aids.  Here the tradition has been to prescribe only one aid.  It is probable that the origin of this tradition lies in expense but it is now so hallowed by custom that advocates of binaural hearing aids are told that they must produce evidence that these have an advantage over monaural aids.  As the normal person is born with two ears the onus of proof would seem to lie in the other direction and the advocates of the monaural hearing aid should prove their case.(pp.131 & 134)

Perhaps those who have threatened to reduce NHS patients to one hearing aid might reflect on that.

Soret’s death made it into Arthur Mee’s The Children’s Newspaper on August the 15th 1931, as “A MAN’S SACRIFICE FOR THE WORLD – Another Great Hero of Peace – SCIENTIST’S LIFE GIVEN TO HUMANITY”

The sunny South of France has experienced a great shadow of grief in the death of an eminent scientist, Professor Celestin Soret, who died at 77.  His life was sacrificed to the, X-ray, for he associated himself whole-heartedly with Dr Röntgen in bringing this invention to the aid of the medical world. The doctors were very sceptical as to the help which they could get from this new invention, and Professor Soret diagnosed over forty thousand cases through the X-ray in his own house, besides the thousands that he was asked to help in the hospitals.  He began life as a schoolmaster in Havre, where he taught physics. Many thousands, not only in France but in other parts of the world, owe him a great debt of gratitude, for he was an international figure.  He was the inventor of apparatus by means of which the sufferers from partial deafness could listen to concerts and conversations with the help of earphones and other pocket instruments. He tried to imagine how much the deaf must miss in life, and he used his knowledge to help them in their difficulty.

Soret was also involved in work at the Hydrographic School of Havre, where he lectured on naval hygiene, and he established a meteorological  observatory on the coast. The article concludes, “Like many other great men of science this French professor died comparatively poor. He placed his knowledge at the disposal of the world to save lives and not to make profit out of it ; and he gave up more than wealth to the cause of knowledge : he sacrificed both his hands.”

In fact, the brief obituary in The British Journal of Radiology Vol.4, p.368, the only other obituary I have so far tracked down, says he died as a result of his early X-ray work, which caused radiodermatitis.  “Through various operations carried out since 1923, Dr. Soret had lost both his arms, which had to be amputated.”

The memorial plaque also says (with the help, I admit, of Google Translate),

A year after the discovery of X -rays (1895) , he set up at his home a ray generator and the first radiography experiments. Four years later he was head of the radiological service in the Hospital of Le Havre.  […] Appointed honorary professor in 1907 , he devoted himself entirely to research and practice of X-rays.  […] In 1928 he received the Medal of the Order of the Crown of Belgium in recognition of the care given to Belgian fighters during their stay in hospital of Le Havre.

It has proved difficult to find these few details of Soret’s life.  One problem is that he shares the same birth year and initial as Charles Soret, the Swiss mathematician and physicist, and some people seem to have confused the two of them.

There is a photograph of him here, and a more poignant photograph with one hand amputated here.

He was a remarkable man.  If you know anything more about him please add a note below.

A. Soret, DES RAYONS DE RŒNTGEN DE LA PRÉCISION DANS LES MÉTHODES RADIOGRAPHIQUES

Sorel et Soret, Un cas d’elephantiasis avec troubles nerveux, gueri par les rayon X. La Normandie medicale, 1″ mars, 1898, p.97.
[I have not seen this article]

http://home.arcor.de/lung/downloads/Geyer_RoentgenStrahlenSchutzVeterinaermed.pdf

Whetnall, E. and Fry, D.S., Learning to Hear (1970)

Hie is remembered as a pioneer of radiology on the Ehrenmal der Radiologie in Hamburg.

His Legion d’honneur citation documents are here.

Roots of Audiology – the Audiometer

H Dominic W Stiles15 May 2015

Modern audiology was only really possible with late 19th century advances in technology and the understanding of electromagnetism that allowed for the measurement of hearing ability.  This allowed the invention of the audiometer, then the development of transistors to replace valves enabled the amplification of sound in a convenient portable device, which became the ‘modern’ hearing aid in the 1940s.

The audiologist has roots in both the medical and the technical –

  • there were the otolaryngologists, doctors who treated and investigated hearing,
  • then there were those who sold instruments like ear trumpets and their ilk, the dispensers,
  • and there were the scientists who developed the theories of acoustics, and the instruments that were used to measure hearing.

One of the latter was David Edward Hughes who was a pioneer of the microphone (which we covered in a previous blog).  Hughes, a great experimenter, developed his ‘audiometer’ at around the same time (1879), and it was first mentioned in his article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, On an Induction-Currents Balance, and Experimental Researches Made Therewith.

During the course of these experiments with this instrument I noticed my own hearing powers varied very much with state of health, weather, &c., that different individuals had wide differences of hearing, and that in nearly all cases one ear was more sensitive than the other; thus whilst my degree of hearing was 10, another might be 60 in one ear and 15 in another.*

*To this portion of my instrument when used as a measurer of our hearing powers, we have given the name of audiometer.

( Hughes 1879 p.58)

AudiometerThe Illustrated London News (see picture with the sonometer to the left and the audiometer numbered 4) described the device –

The audiometer, an adaptation of the sonometer, being an instrument for exactly measuring our power of hearing and chronicling the progress of recovery from deafness. It was first applied by Dr. Richardson to some very remarkable investigations relative to our hearing powers.  a is the scale measured into 200 millimetres.  bb are the two primary fixed coils, both exactly similar to those in the sonometer as to length and size of wire, although what should be the thinner coil is here padded out, so that they look both alike as to depth.

The wires from these coils are connected with the microphone, c, and Leelanche’s battery cells, dd; e, secondary and moving coil, connected through the binding screws, ff, to the telephone, h. The switch, g is a brass arm pivoted on an ebony plate, on which are also fixed two brass studs. The free end of arm placed over either of these gives either the force of one or, when desired, two cells, the stronger current being used only for very deaf patients. (Illustrated London News , 1879)

Benjamin Ward Richardson, a great friend of Hughes, experimented with this instrument, and coined the name.

“In this preliminary report I have omitted many subjects of interest, but I hope I have related enough to show that the world of science in general, and the world of medicine in particular,is under a deep debt of gratitude to Professor Hughes for his simple and beautiful instrument, which I have christened the audimeter, or less correctly but more euphoniously, the audiometer.” (Richardson, 1879)

Richardson was a close friend of John Snow of cholera fame, and a remarkable man in his own right, being a physician, sanitarian, anaesthetist and historian of medicine.

In his 1979 article on Hughes and his audiometer, Stephens says Hughes “does not appear to have been interested in the application of his audiometer”.  Hughes was awarded a Royal Society Gold Medal in 1885, and his funeral in Highgate was attended by the U.S. ambassador as well as representatives of the governments of Serbia, France and Greece (Stephens, p.3).  Richardson was also diverted by his many other interests and did not pursue research with the audiometer.

T.Hawksley, who manufactured and sold hearing devices, went into production with the “Hughes’ Sonometer” in 1883, and it seems it was still available as late as 1912 (Stephens p.4).

Audiometers do not seem to have taken off however, and Stephens says there are few references to them in the otolaryngological textbooks of the period.  It was only with the increased use of valve audiometers in the 1930s that audiology as a separate discipline began to find its own place.

Hughes, D.E., On an Induction-Currents Balance, and Experimental Researches Made Therewith, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1879 Volume 29, pp. 56-65

Hughes’s Electric Sonometer and Balance, and Audiometer.Illustrated London News (London, England), Saturday, November 15, 1879; pg. 463; Issue 2109

Richardson, B.W., Some Researches with Professor Hughes’ New Instrument for the Measurement of Hearing; the Audiometer, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1879 Volume 29, pp. 65-70

Stephens, S.D.G., David Edward Hughes and his audiometer. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 1979, Volume 93 pp.1-6

National Institute for the Deaf Medical Scrapbook, circa 1935

H Dominic W Stiles5 September 2014

As a conduit & clearing house for information on all aspects of hearing loss and deafness, the National Institute for the Deaf (N.I.D., now Action on Hearing Loss) was careful to gather information or stories that encompassed these topics in the popular press and in academic journals to which they had access.  This scrapbook from 1935 is illustrative of this.  It contains cuttings from a wide variety of papers and journals on medical aspects of hearing loss and deafness.  As it was the 1920s, when the topic of eugenics was extremely popular, many of the stories touch on that, some in favour and some against.

In one image we read about the huge number of Germans who were being sterilised, in the other we see sterilisation arguments in the British press.

Another story from 28th of march 1935 in the Daily Express, says that the Rotherham Schools Medical Officer, Dr. A.C. Turner

believes that more than 1,000 of the children under his care have varying degrees of deafness – but their class-rooms are too noisy for him to find out!

Recently his department bought a portable audiometer – a delicate instrument used in the testing of hearing – and his assistants have been going from school to school searching in vain for a room quiet enough to use the apparatus.
“Before the audiometer can function accurately we must have a room with perfect quiet,” Dr. Turner told me.

“We cannot find one! Each room we have tested has had so many distracting noises that the recordings are incomplete.

“I am advocating an aural clinic in which the audiometer could be installed in a sound-proof room.”

Perhaps someone in the Rotherham area interested in medical history could find out more about Dr. Turner and see if or when he got his room.

Click onto the images for a larger scale view.

scrapbook 1 scrapbook 2

Noise Action Week – Recent Articles on Noise and Health

H Dominic W Stiles22 May 2014

This week two awareness weeks coincide, both within our area of interest and coverage, namely Deaf Awareness Week and Noise Action Week.

Deaf Awareness Week is themed this year on “Equality In Communication For All” .

Noise Action Week “is an annual opportunity to focus the attention of communities on the problems excessive noise can cause for us all – at home, at work, at study and at leisure.”

Below is a list of recent articles on various aspects of noise and health, from noise mapping, to noise pollution and environmental noise.  Click on the links for abstracts or access to full articles where available:

Kephalopoulos S et al.  Advances in the development of common noise assessment methods in Europe: The CNOSSOS-EU framework for strategic environmental noise mapping.  The Science of the Total Environment, 2014 Jun 1;482-483:400-10. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.02.031. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Kim, S.J.et al.  Exposure-Response Relationship Between Aircraft Noise and Sleep Quality: A Community-based Cross-sectional Study  (2014) Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, Article in Press 

Turunen, M.et al.  Indoor environmental quality in school buildings, and the health and wellbeing of students (2014) International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health,  Article in Press

Hooper, R.E.  Acoustic shock controversies  (2014) Journal of Laryngology and Otology, Article in Press

Holzman, D.C.  Fighting noise pollution: A public health strategy (2014) Environmental Health Perspectives, 122 (2), pp. A58

Banerjee, D. et al.  Association between road traffic noise and prevalence of coronary heart disease (2014) Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 186 (5), pp. 2885-2893

Basner, M. et al  Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health (2014) The Lancet, 383 (9925), pp. 1325-1332

Sygna, K. et al.  Road traffic noise, sleep and mental health (2014) Environmental Research, 131, pp. 17-24

Seltenrich, N.  Wind turbines: A different breed of noise? (2014) Environmental Health Perspectives, 122 (1), pp. A20-A25.

Wilfred A. Streeter – an Osteopathic Aurist

H Dominic W Stiles14 March 2014

In the 1920s osteopathy began to be widely practised in the U.K. to the point that it came to the attention of the General Medical Council and the government.  Osteopathy began in the U.S.A. in 1874, and it relied on wealthy clients to grow.  In the article to which we link below, Jure Stojan discusses why in the 1920s there were moves to regulate osteopathy.

Osteopaths first attempted to achieve state regulation in the 1920s. In 1925, the British Osteopathic Association (BOA) sent a deputation to the Minister of Health. The House of Commons dropped the Regulation and Registration of Osteopathy Bill three times, in 1931, 1933, and 1934. The Bill was subsequently introduced in the Lords, where it had received a second reading before being referred to a Select Committee and finally withdrawn. After the collapse of the Osteopathy Bills—partially because of fierce opposition from the medical profession—osteopaths opted for self-regulation and established the General Council and Register of Osteopaths (GCRO). (Stojan p.2-3)

Stojan says that in the pre-war period osteopaths decided that “either they opted out of the market for alternative medicine (by obtaining statutory regulation) or they improved their position within it.”  He asks “Was statutory regulation really the desired outcome of this process?”

He argues that

When pre-war osteopaths decided not to advertise, they were signalling professionalism by following the example of other professions. An osteopathic book of the 1930s makes this connection obvious: ‘As in other respected professions, the qualified osteopath does not advertise. The results which he obtains advertise themselves.’

Wilfred Alberts Streeter, who wrote a book about osteopathy called The New Healing, used osteopathy to treat hearing problems.  I do not believe that there is any evidence to support this as a reasonable treatment and it seems that the G.M.C. agreed as we see in the cutting below.  That it comes from The Tatler is indicative of what Stojan says about their reliance on wealthy clients.

The well-known osteopathic aurist, whose achievements in curing deafness by manipulative operations are well known. Mr. Streeter’s practice is being seriously interfered with by a warning issued by the General Medical Council to doctors that they must not assist practitioners whom the council consider “unqualified.” Mr. Streeter has been employing a qualified doctor as an anaesthetist.

Regardless of the merits of osteopathy in treating back pain and the like, it is pretty clear that if he claimed to ‘cure’ deafness with it that he was a quack.

Streeter

 

 

Stojan, Jure, Signalling and the quest for regulation in British complementary medicine

Deaf People and Dementia

H Dominic W Stiles10 May 2013

By Mina Krishnan

Researchers from the Royal Association for Deaf People, the University of Manchester, City University (London) and UCL – including our own Professor Bencie Woll in the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre – have conducted a research project on deaf BSL (British Sign Language) users living with dementia: their understanding of it, their ease of access to appropriate services and the impact of dementia on the deaf community.  Following the government’s policy document, Living Well With Dementia: A National Dementia Strategy – which lays out recommendations for early diagnosis and greater access to relevant information, but doesn’t make clear how it will apply to deaf people – this project was set up by a team of researchers and funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

You have probably noticed that dementia has been in the news a lot lately.  Furthermore, connections between deafness and dementia have been indicated: for example, this recent news story, regarding recent research which suggests that deafness may in fact contribute to dementia.  Then there’s the difficulty of diagnosis among deaf people due to various factors, from problems with communication when attempting initially to consult doctors or hospital staff (about any health matters), to the unsuitability for sign language users of the tests currently used to identify cognitive disorders.

The research done for the Deaf People With Dementia project is vital to all of us; according to the WHO, the leading cause of hearing loss in adults is age-related (presbycusis).  Worldwide, this is believed to affect from one third to half of people over the age of 65 and more than half of those over 75; and this is expected to rise significantly during the next 20–30 years, especially in places like Europe and the U.S. where increasing life expectancy means an ageing population (WHO, 2011 – see link above).  With dementia believed to affect about 800,000 people in the UK – as well as, according to issue 733 of Bulletin (the official magazine of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, to which the library has a subscription if you’d like to come in and have a look) an estimated 25 million people knowing a close friend or family member with dementia – it seems highly likely that almost everyone will be affected at some point, either directly or indirectly.

Interested in finding out more?  You could try searching PubMed using terms such as deaf or deafness, hearing loss, presbycusis, dementia and so on.  If you’re a UCL student or staff member, it’s best to go via the electronic library web-page; or if you’re not, visit us here in the library where you’ll have greater access to articles using on-campus computers.  Of course, here in the library we’ll be happy to help you look for further information, too – just drop by during our opening hours or give us a call.