This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Deafness may have several causes, but in the majority of cases it depends upon inflammation and thickening of the membrane that lines the drum of the ear. A few leeches behind the ear, followed by blisters, is the best course of treatment to be followed.
It is sometimes caused by chronic inflammation of the external canal, or of the menbrane covering the drum of the ear; with thickening or excrescences of the membrane, and purulent discharge. These cases must be treated by blisters behind the ear, attention to the state of the health, and the cautious use of injections.
Accumulations of hardened wax are an occasional cause of deafness. They should be removed by syringing the ear every day with warm soap and water. After the syringing, a few drops of Olive Oil should be dropped into the ear, and a little cotton wool put in to prevent cold.
Deafness is sometimes caused by tumours of the tonsils obstructing the passages leading from the throat to the ear; or by contraction, or by obliteration of the passages from the occurrence of ulces. which is not uncommon after scarlet fever or venereal at.
Chronic sore throat, or swelling of the tonsils, must be removed by stimulating and astringent gargles, (see Appendix), or by touching the parts with a hair pencil dipped in a strong solution of Nitrate of Silver; as well as by the use of tonics, blisters behind the ear, and attention to the general health.
Deafness is often caused by blows on the head. If any inflammatory symptoms are present, leeches and blisters are the only remedies.
It may be produced by organic alterations in the brain, tumours, or the like, and may be attended with epilepsy or idiocy, or may be a consequence of apoplexy or convulsions. The treatment of course must depend upon the nature of the cause.
Deafness is said to be nervous when it depends upon general torpor and debility, and is better at some times than at others, especially in fine weather, and when the patient is cheerful or excited, and the stomach in good order.
Attention must be paid to the general health: good living, air and exercise, warm or cold bathing, according to the season of the year; the bowels should be kept regular with the pills, No. 5; and the patient may take any of the tonics recommended in this work; trying one after another till he finds from which he derives most benefit.