Public lecture: Managing the Experience of Hearing Loss in Britain, 1830 - 1930 - LONDON!

This public lecture marks the launch of Professors Graeme Gooday and Karen Sayer’s new book on the history of hearing loss.

This lecture looks at how hearing loss among adults was experienced, viewed and treated in Britain before the National Health Service. We explore the changing status of ‘hard of hearing’ people during the nineteenth century and their techniques for managing communication with hearing loss: hearing aids, lip-reading and correspondence networks. We see how adverse developments in eugenics prompted otologists to focus primarily on the prevention of deafness until hearing loss among First World War combatants prompted hearing specialists to take a more supportive approach. Finally, it fell to the National Institute for the Deaf (now Action on Hearing Loss), formed in 1924, to defend hard of hearing people against unscrupulous hearing aid vendors.

This event marks the launch of Professors Graeme Gooday and Karen Sayer’s new book Managing the Experience of Hearing Loss in Britain, 1830-1930 (Palgrave, 2017), which is based on research at the Thackray Museum’s historical collections of hearing aids.

Graeme Gooday is Head of School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science and Professor of History of Science and Technology at the University of Leeds. Broadly interested in the history of technology post-1870, his current research focuses on the cultural history of electrical technology, especially relating the problematic advent of electric lighting, disputes over patenting, hearing loss, and auditory enhancement. 

Karen Sayer is Professor of Social and Cultural history at Leeds Trinity University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the HEA. Her research focus is on nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories of 'Nature', material culture, energy, technology and the body.  

The venue has an IR system and the lecture will be BSL interpreted.

A reception will immediately follow the lecture. This event is free and open to all.  Book your Eventbrite ticket here.  

All royalties from the sale of this book will be given to Action on Hearing Loss and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

Location details 

London, Dana Research Centre and Library