When it comes to hearing loss, there are many different methods we see utilized every day. Hearing aids provide a way for people to go about their daily lives. These people are able to watch television and go to concerts even though they experience hearing loss. Hearing loss is not a newer health issue, as humans have been battling this as long as they have been alive. There are many historical techniques people used to try and combat hearing loss long before implants and hearing aids were even a thought. From creating weird-looking devices, to trying weird food, historical methods of treating hearing loss and deafness almost seemed like it was straight out of a sci-fi themed movie, and most of them were not successful.
When it comes to inventions, humans are always trying to create the next big thing that will help make life easier. Many people created contraptions to try and fix this issue. One instance was a large invention that would try and stimulate the nerves in the ear by vibrating. Not only did the machine look strange, but the device did not work at all. Following up with another invention, artificial eardrums were the method to try in the late 1800s to fix hearing loss. The idea was to help sound travel through the auditory canal. Much like the last invention, this also did not work and actually caused the wearer some pain when it was placed in their ear.
Additionally, people leaned on common foods to help with deafness or hearing loss. One technique was to fry peach kernels in hog fat. Then, they were to place drops in the ears and repeat until the person’s deafness was gone. Many people also used different oils and herbs to help treat hearing loss. Different types of snuff or drugs were have said to help as well. One example is people claimed taking opium could cure deafness. While drugs and food products did not help, another folklore to treating hearing loss included urine. Legend has it that you should heat your urine in two dishes, and use the water that boils off and put it in the ear. Yuck!
Furthermore, different techniques were used on the body to help people hear again. One way this was tried was by hypnotizing. Many believed thought that after being hypnotized, you would be able to hear. Also, some believed that climbing up high then sharply dropping would reverse hearing loss. After the person climbed up to a very high point, they were supposed to jump down, and the fast and sharp fall would allow them to hear again. Not only did this not work, but it is super dangerous as well.
Drastic, unsafe measures were taken as well to try to help hearing loss. People also used to believe that if you stuck a twig in your ear and kept it in day or night, deafness would go away and hearing would be restored. Another way was to cut yourself and let blood come out, known as bloodletting. Also, using electrical treatments, known as electromedicine, was said to help as well. While all of these definitely did not work, they also caused harm to the person undergoing these treatments as well. Do not try any of these folklore treatments at home, and always contact a medical professional or hearing specialist about any questions you have about your hearing.
These historical techniques are a thing of the past, and technology today has allowed us to come up with different treatments for people experiencing hearing loss that actually do work. Personal sound amplification devices, or PSAPs, is a newer method of treating hearing loss. While these do not provide the more rounded-sound of a hearing aid, PSAPs allow hearing loss sufferers to listen to more amplified noises. Another way hearing loss sufferers are able to get over this obstacle is cochlear implants. Doctors are able to surgically place cochlear implants deep within the ear. The implant stimulates the cochlear nerve and picks up sound with a microphone. Both of these techniques provide a solution to those experiencing hearing loss or deafness, and it is much safer and cleaner way of doing so!