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26 October 2021 - 26 October 2021

5:30PM - 6:30PM

Online via the Wellcome Collection

  • Free

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This is the image alt text Ruben Verwaal with an ear trumpet

Join Dr Ruben Verwaal to explore the oldest acoustic hearing aids in Wellcome Collection: the ear trumpet.

In this event, hosted by the Wellcome Collection, you will learn about how ear trumpets were developed at the turn of the 18th century and why this large acoustic device became increasingly commonplace among the hard of hearing.

Joshua Reynolds, Elizabeth Vesey and James Hutton are some of the best-known ear-trumpet users in Georgian high society. This presentation will investigate the experiences of the hard of hearing as well as the perceptions of their interlocutors at art academies, science societies and church congregations, and show how these social contexts accepted the new technology as a means of increased participation.

Ruben Verwaal has a PhD in History of Medicine from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is currently researching medical perceptions and personal experiences of deafness and hardness of hearing in early modern Europe at the Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham.