Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Quack Hearing Devices

Massacon Ear Treatment Device—Type "D"

The Massacon Ear Treatment Device was manufactured by the Hutchison Acoustic Company of New York in 1903, the makers of the early Acousticon carbon hearing aids and predecessor of Dictograph Products, Inc. It was originally called the "Akou-Massage".

There were several sub-models or "Types". For example, Type "A2" was an economy A/C powered model, while Type "D" (shown here) was the battery-powered model.

The Massacon box measured 8¾" x 6⅞" x 4¼" and weighed 3 pounds without batteries.
 

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The Massacon was a rather ingenious, non-intrusive way to treat deafness caused by otosclerosis. It did this by creating a loud sound vibration through the earphone held against the patient’s ear.

The Massacon was designed to cause severe vibration to the eardrum and consequently the tiny bones in the middle ear as a means of loosening them up and breaking the spongy bone attachments apart to improve the hearing in people who had otosclerosis. It was made for the use of physicians and not as a home treatment for hearing loss.

There are three controls on the device. There is a nine step rheostat on the box (right side of picture) that is used to vary the intensity of the vibrations.

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In addition, there is a control knob on the rear of the earphone that controls the frequency of the vibrations.

 

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Finally, you can rotate the top of the receiver in relation to the bottom. If you look closely, you can see some numbers around the top edge. There are 24 steps around the side of the cap which moves the diaphragm in and out towards the magnets, which also increases or decreases the sound level.

 

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The sound produced by this unit, even on the lowest setting is a whopping 120 dB. On any of the settings above that it is off the scale of the sound meter. Consequently, this device is capable of doing great damage to the normal ear and should have only been used on people who had a considerable degree of conductive hearing loss due to otosclerosis.

This picture shows the interior of the earphone.

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Here is a close-up of the interior of the earphone showing the vibrator (red).

 

It appears to operate from a 6 Volt battery of unknown type. The engraving on the back of the earphone states that this unit is a type D, No. 7.

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The Massacon's box from the outside.

 

 

 

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A close-up of the name plate on the box. It says that this is Type D and the serial number is 227. Thus, this is one of the earliest battery-powered Massacon's produced.

 

 

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