Sunday, 8 March 2009

Otacoustical Instruments

I've just come across a catalogue I'd mislaid in a mountain of paperwork. Its a 1912 catalogue of Otocoustical Instruments to aid the Deaf. Many of the instruments are disguised aids discretely covered in hair or camouflaged as a vase of flowers on the table. This one proudly tells the world "I am hard of hearing" and looks like a very large early twentieth century iPod! The amplification of these devices isn't often very many dBs but obviously seeing somebody carrying such a device is going to make people speak to them much more loudly than they would otherwise. This one is known as the "Staniland" and cost a staggering 15 guineas, ie £15.75, in 1912. To see a very good collection of eartrumpets, look at fair exhibitor, Laurie Slater's website at
There's a very good book on antique hearing devices written by Elisabeth Bennion and available from
www. .

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