This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This is one of the most hopeless of all diseases of the ear. It is by no means so common, however, as formerly supposed, before diseases of the ear were as well understood as at present. Formerly, all diseases of the ear which could not be traced to other causes were attributed to disease of the auditory nerve. Even at the present time many physicians who are not thoroughly posted in regard to diseases of these organs pronounce many cases of deafness to be of nervous origin, when the difficulty is of a much more tractable character.
One of the most interesting discoveries appertaining to this class of maladies is the fact that diseases of the auditory nerve can be distinguished from diseases of other portions of the car by means of the tuning-fork. If the tuning-fork be sounded, and the handle placed at the center of the forehead, the sound will be heard most distinctly in the affected ear if the deafness is in the middle ear, or due to hardened ear-wax. If, however, it is due to disease of the auditory nerve, it will be heard most distinctly in the unaffected ear.
Improvement of the general health, and the application of galvanic electricity to the ear, are about the only measures of advantage. When both ears are affected, the electricity may be applied by means of small sponge electrodes which should be placed at the openings of the auditory canal, or just behind the ear. When only one ear is affected, the positive pole should be placed at the back of the head and the negative at the opening of the ear or upon the prominence just behind it.