Deafness is as serious as blindness. While it can be troublesome; it can also be lived with. People no longer suffer from hearing loss; they cure it or they learn to live with it. The most common cause of hearing loss today is exposure to loud noise; primarily, loud music from headphones and earbuds.
Historically, hearing loss was caused by things like aging, injury, infections, blockages, and diseases. Some people are born deaf due to birth defects or genetics. People can also go deaf after taking certain drugs; chemotherapy and other cancer-fighting drugs can cause hearing loss in today’s world.
Regardless of the cause – either today or yesterday – people centuries ago used to do some strange things to prevent and restore hearing loss. Few of them worked, but that didn’t stop people from trying. Being an ear-related affliction, most people instinctively thought sticking something in their ear would solve the problem. Medically speaking, sticking things in the ear can cause deafness.
The only similarity between yesteryear’s medicine and today’s medicine is that musicians suffered more than most. Musicians are consistently exposing themselves to loud noises, so things like tinnitus are a common problem. Beethoven suffered from tinnitus, which eventually led to his deafness. The lack of effective cures also played a significant role, as did many other hearing deficiencies.
While it’s not entirely fair to blame his doctors for his deafness, Beethoven’s doctors didn’t really help him that much. One of them wanted him to keep almond oil in his ears. Another wanted to shock his ears until his hearing returned (luckily that didn’t happen). And another one wanted him to sit in silence so his ears could rest. That method makes no sense at all! It’s odd that a real doctor once used the words, “let your ears rest.”
Beethoven learned to live with his deafness and continued making the most wonderful music of his time. Luckily, he passed away before the world really tried to “cure” hearing loss. As science discovered more about deafness, doctors and healers upped their game, creating new and pointless devices and therapies to sell to people.
The historical cures stemmed from a lot of religious beliefs, which is why so many recommended prayer and meditation and hypnosis. Hypnosis is still around today and is still considered a cure for hearing loss. Of course, science and medicine don’t consider hypnosis a cure, but some people do.
Nineteenth-century medicine brought about a lot of nasty medical practices. It wasn’t so much nasty in a painful way as much as it was just gross. Back then, they used to blister people’s skin with caustic plaster just to make their blisters pus out. The pus was supposed to prove that toxins were exiting the body; thereby, making the patient healthier. Somehow, that was connected to hearing improvement, though no one was ever cured of hearing loss through blistering.
No one was ever cured of hearing loss with contraptions either. Steampunk is greatly inspired by that time in human history, but it wasn’t a great time to be sick or have an unwanted condition. The practices used by doctors back then was the birth of abusing patients. In the next century, contraptions and electrocution were most doctors’ tools of choice.
As mentioned above, hypnosis is still claiming to be a cure for hearing loss but so is cheese. According to a scientific study, cheese can improve hearing to a certain degree. In reality, it can’t fully restore someone’s hearing (that would take about five pounds of cheese), but it does have D-methionine, which promotes healthy ears.
What today’s hearing loss patients need to be aware of is hearing loss pills and personal sound amplification devices. Both look like authentic, clinically proven products but neither is. These products are cooked up by corporations trying to prey on the naïve and desperate.
With today’s technological advancements, hearing aids and cochlear implants are the best options. These options should be discussed with a licensed hearing expert. Avoid bizarre methods and make an appointment with a professional.