About the Seminar
During the late nineteenth century, entrepreneurs began to glut the direct-to-consumer medical market with a plethora of remedies they professed could miraculously cure deafness. They claimed their remedies and machines fostered a world of unbridled optimism for providing “hope” to deaf ears. Even as medical specialists denounced these “cure-all” treatments as quackery in its finest form, the messages of restoring hearing would transfer over to the hearing aid industry. Focusing on the marketing of deafness cure—hearing trumpets, electrotherapy apparatuses, and hearing aids—this presentation unravels the many ways deaf people sought to restore or gain hearing. This history provides broad context for understanding the lived experiences of deaf people and how cultural pressures of normalcy significantly stigmatized deafness.
Jaipreet Virdi is a historian of medicine, technology, and disability at the University of Delaware, and author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History. Learn more about Dr. Virdi and the seminar.