Experience With Chronic Deafness
The experience referred to in this title extends over a period of twenty years, during each year of which there has been but little change in treatment or in its results. Real progress, however, has been made in the diagnosis of deafness which has resulted from the standardization and improvement in quality of the tuning forks, and of adoption of the audiometer into practical use. The hard of hearing have received much benefit from various hearing aids and increased proficiency in the examination of the labyrinth has led to a better knowledge of its physiology. Because of the intimate relationship of the labyrinth with the brain, a term has been coined, the fitness of which I often question, namely, neurootologist. There is no question that the otologist knows more about the ear than does the neurologist, while the neurologist is better qualified to diagnose and deal with conditions within the brain. But these are two distinct fields and a hyphen does not necessarily bring these two fields closer together. Whether by his examinations alone the otologist is capable of localizing a brain lesion in my opinion is very questionable, and for this reason I think the value of the otologist to the neurological surgeon cannot be compared with that of the ophthalmologist.
My contact with deafened individuals has often made me regret whatever reputation I have had as an aurist. It is hard indeed to have a patient come, sometimes from a considerable distance, happy because he is seeing one. . .