Medical Center Hour: Negotiating Normalcy—Deafness Cures in American History

January 19, 2024 by

Location: Pinn Hall Conference Center Auditorium

Date: Jan 31, 2024 - Jan 31, 2024

Start Time: 12:00 pm

End Time: 1:00 pm

Event Link

Presented by:

Jaipreet Virdi, PhD
Associate Professor and Historian
Department of History, University of Delaware

Moderated by:

Dominique Tobbell, PhD
Professor & Director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, UVA

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.

Lunch will be provided for the first 40 in-person attendees.

For more information about this event, please contact Charlene Kaufman.

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