Experiencing Ear Trumpets

Oct 27, 2021 | Blog, Media

Last night I gave a talk “Experiencing Ear Trumpets in the Enlightenment” for the Wellcome Collection, Exploring Research Seminar.

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

You can visit the Wellcome YouTube channel and watch the recording. The seminar is made accessible with British Sign Language and speech-to-text captioning. Many thanks to the Research development specialists at Wellcome, the producers, interpreters and captioners, for making this seminar possible!

If you happen to know more historical examples of ear trumpet-users, please let me know!