For as long as people have suffered from hearing loss, others have been searching for a cure. Over thousands of years, this has proven to be an exercise in futility. Jaipreet Virdi, assistant professor of history at the University of Delaware, explains why Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History in her new book.
Virdi is uniquely qualified to author this book. She has been deaf since the age of four after contracting meningitis and has experienced firsthand the societal barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing individuals. She also understands why many deaf people try to “pass as hearing” and appear as normal as possible.
Historical attempts at curing deafness range from the absurd to seemingly practical. Take airplane diving, for instance—in the 1920s, deaf patients boarded airplanes and were taken on flights that climbed to 12,000 – 14,000 feet before beginning a series of loops and nosedives in a misguided attempt to regain their hearing. Other so-called cures involved folk remedies based around herbs, berries, garlic and animal products.
Virdi believes the use of the word ‘cure’ is problematic. “Cures can have a very flexible type of meaning,” she says. “Surgery that can help someone who has otosclerosis…can actually be promoted as a cure. A hearing aid can be considered a cure. But if you’re talking about drinking coffee on the belief that it will flush out your system and therefore restore your hearing, if you’re talking about ear candling as the solution, then, no. These aren’t really cures.”
There is no cure for hearing loss currently, but that doesn’t mean patients are doomed to a life void of communication. Plenty of effective treatments are available, ranging from hearing aids and cochlear implants for those with sensorineural hearing loss to surgical procedures for some patients with conductive hearing loss.
Regardless of your hearing loss type, help is available. An audiologist can help with a treatment plan geared to your specific needs.
Concerned you may have hearing loss? Talk to the experts at Hearing Focused, LLC today to schedule a free hearing screening! (262) 679-8888
 A History of So-Called ‘Cures’ For Deafness. (2020). Retrieved 24 September 2020, from https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/history-deafness-cures/