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In a recent paper to the Bureau of Education at Washington, Dr Sexton inquires into the causes of deafness among school children and its bearing on education. It is unusual, he states, to meet with a child that has not had some ear disease. He divides the causes into (i) local causes, and (2) affections of the ear - from nervous sympathy. Under the second heading are included cold in ihe head and dental irritation ; the latter a very common source of injury ' to the ears. Among the many school children brought to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary for ear affections it is rare to find one case in which the state of the teeth is not to be considered as a factor. Further, the entrance of water into the ears (as in bathing), diphtheria, mumps, close cutting of the hair, are among the causes of ear dis. orders. Dr Sexton thinks pupils should be examined at the beginning of each session to ascertain what number are too deaf to receive instruction in the ordinary way, and what number having slight defects would get on better if seated properly in the schoolroom. The best test is the voice of the person with which the children are familiar in learning 3 various test - sentences should be repeated at about twelve feet distance, the listening pupil having the eyes closed, and one ear stopped by an assistant. From an examination of 570 pupils it appeared

that, though the teachers were only aware of one case of deafness, and the pupils themselves of 19, the author detected 76 cases, or about 13 per cent, of greatly diminished hearing in one or both ears. Of the entire number 487 were questioned as to previous ear-ache, and 173 recollected having had this symptom. Simple directions are given regarding the treatment of pupils with impaired hearing; those hearing with difficulty should be placed near the teacher, those who hear well only with one ear should be placed with that ear towards the teacher, etc. Pupils who cannot understand the teacher at 5 feet should be separated and receive special instruction. Dr Sexton alludes to the importanceof good hearing for teachers, and thinks that persons seeking pedagogic education at the public expense should be subjected at the outset to an aural examination. He also remarks on the discouraging situation of a deaf child, and advises that when ho apparent cause for a child’s dullness of action is known to exist, a thorough investigation of the acoustic organs should be made before necessarily regarding the child as a dunce or feebleminded.

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Bibliographic details

DEAFNESS IN SCHOOLS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 790, 11 November 1882

Word Count

DEAFNESS IN SCHOOLS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 790, 11 November 1882

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