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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 883 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SUMMARY. Continent. Schools. Teachers. Pupils. Africa 7 16 127 Asia . 9 47 453 Australia . 7 46 332 Europe 450 3152 25,886 North America . 135 1490 11,760 South America . 7 34 229 615 4785 38,787 These figures refer only to deaf children who are actually under instruction, not to the whole deaf population. While it is gratifying to find that so much is being done in the way of educating this class of the community, the number of schools in most parts of the world is still lamentably inadequate. For instance, taking the school age as from seven to sixteen, which is now made compulsory by Act of Parliament in Great Britain, and assuming that 20% of the deaf population are of that age, as they are in England, there should be 40,000 deaf pupils under instruction in India alone, whereas there are but seventy-three. There are 200,000 deaf of all ages in India. And what an enormous total should be in schools in China instead of forty-three! The whole of the rest of Asia, with the exception of Japan, has apparently not a single school. There must be many thousands of thousands of deaf (hundreds of thousands, if not thousands of thousands of whom are of school age) in that continent, unless indeed they are destroyed, which is not impossible. What are we to say of Africa, where only loo pupils are being taught; of South America, with its paltry 200, and Australia's 300? To come to Europe itself, Russia should have many times more pupils than her 1700. Even in Great Britain the education of the deaf was not made compulsory till 1893, and there are many still evading the law and growing up uneducated. Mr Payne of Swansea estimated (Institution Report, 1903–1904) from the 1901 census, that there must be approximately 204 deaf of school age in South Wales and Monmouthshire, while only 144 were accounted for in all the schools in that district according to Dr Hitz's statistics. Dr Kerr Love (Deaf Mutism, p. 217) gives the following table, which shows the number of deaf people in proportion to the population in the countries named: Switzerland. I in 408 Austria 765 Hungary „ 792 Sweden „ 977 Prussia . „ 981 Finland „ 981 Canada „ 1003 Norway „ 1052 Germany (exclusive of Prussia) „ 1074 Portugal 1333 Ireland „ 13981 India . ,, 1459 United States „ 1514 Denmark . „ 1538 Greece „ 1548 France „ 1600 Italy „ 1862 Scotland „ 18851 Cape Colony „ 1904 England „ 20431 Spain „ 2178 Belgium „ 2247 Australasia „ 2692 Holland „ 2985 Ceylon 4328 According to a tabular statement of British and Colonial schools, June 1899, the proportion of those born deaf to those who lost hearing after birth was, at that time and in those countries, 2126 to 1251, as far as returns had been made'. Several schools had, however, failed to give statistics. These figures show a proportion of nearly 59 % congenitally deaf persons to over 41 % whose deafness is acquired. Professor Fay, whose monumental work, Marriages of the Deaf in America, deserves particular attention; mentions (p. 38) that of 23,931 persons who attended American schools for the deaf up to the year 1890, 9842, or 41 %, were reported as congenitally deaf, and 14,089, or 59 %, as adventitiously deaf; figures which exactly reverse those just quoted. The classification of deafness acquired in infancy with congenital deafness by some other authorities (giving rise to the rather absurd term " toto-congenital " to describe the latter) is unscientific. There is reason for the opinion that the non-congenital, even when hearing has been lost in early infancy, acquire language better, and it is a mistake from any point of view to include them in the born deaf. 1 The figures for England, Scotland and Ireland, according to the 1901 census, are different and have been given above. Other statistics vary very much as to the proportion of born deaf, some being as low as a quarter, and some as high as three-quarters, of the whole class. We can only say, speaking of both sides of the Atlantic, and counterbalancing one period with another, that the general average appears to be about 50% for each. Probably the percentage varies in different places for definite reasons, which we shall now briefly consider. Causes of Deafness.—These may be considered in two divisions, pre-natal and post-natal. 1. Pre-Natal.—A small percentage of these is due, it seems, to malformation of some portion of the auditory apparatus. Another percentage is known to represent the children of the intermarriage of blood relations. Dr Kerr Love (Deaf Mutism, p. 117) gives statistics from thirteen British institutions which show that on a general average at least 8% of the congenitally deaf are the offspring of such marriages. Besides this, little is known. Beyond all doubt a much larger percentage of deaf children are the offspring of marriages in which one or both partners were born deaf than of ordinary marriages. But inquiries into such phenomena have generally been directed towards tracing deafness and not consanguinity, or at least the inquirer has rarely troubled to make sure whether the grand-parents or great-grandparents on either side were relations or not. Such investigations rarely go beyond ascertaining if the parents were related to each other, though we have proof that a certain tendency towards any particular abnormality may not exhibit itself in every generation of the family in question. To give an illustration, suppose that G is a deaf man. Several inquirers may trace back to the preceding generation F, and to the grandparents E, and even to the great-grandparents D, in search of an ancestor who is deaf, and such they may discover in the third generation D: But probably not one of these several inquirers will ask G if any of his grandparents or great-grandparents married a cousin, for instance, though they may ask if his father did. To continue this hypothetical case, the investigators will again trace back along the family tree to generations C, B and A in search of an original deaf ancestor, on whose shoulders they seek to lay the blame of both D's and G's deafness. Not finding any such, they will again content themselves with asking if D's parents (generation C) were blood relations or not, and, receiving an answer in the negative, desist from further inquiry in this direction, assuming that D's deafness is the original cause of G's deafness. They do not, we fear, inquire if any grand-parents or great-grandparents (hearing people) were related, with the same persistency as they ask if any were deaf. The search for deafness is pushed through several generations, the search for consanguinity is only extended to one generation. Perhaps if it were carried further, it would be discovered that A married his niece, and there lay the secret of the deafness in both D and G. In other words, the deafness in D is not the cause of that in G, but the deafness in both D and G are effects of the consanguineous marriage in A. All this is, however, merely by way of suggestion. We submit that if deafness in one generation may be followed by deafness two or even three generations later, while the tendency to deafness exists, but does not appear, in the intermediate generations, it is only logical to inquire if deafness in the first discoverable instance in a family may not be caused by consanguinity, the effect of which is not seen for two or three generations in a similar manner. Moreover it is probable that consanguinity in parents or grandparents may often be denied. An exhaustive investigation along these lines is desirable, for we believe that congenital deafness would be proved to be due to consanguinity in hearing people, if the search were pushed far enough back and the truth were told, in a far greater percentage of cases than is now suspected. This is not disproved by quoting numbers of cases where no deafness follows consanguinity in any generation, for resulting weakness may be shown (where it exists) in many other ways than by deafness. This theory receives support from the statistics quoted by Dr Kerr Love (Deaf Mutism, p. 132), where the percentage of defective children resulting from the consanguineous marriages of hearing people increases in almost exact proportion to the nearness of affinity of the parents. It is further borne out by statistics of the duchy of Nassau, and of Berlin, both quoted by Dr Kerr Love (pp. 119, 120). These show 1 deaf person in 1397 Roman Catholics, I Io1 Evangelicals and 508 Jews in the former case, and 1 in 3000 Roman Catholics, 2000 Protestants and 400 Jews in the latter. When we are told that " Roman Catholics prohibit marriages between persons who are near blood relations, Protestants view such marriages as permissible, and Jews encourage intermarriage with blood relations," these figures become suggestive. We find the same greater tendency to deafness in thinly-populated and out-of-the-way districts and countries where, owing to the circle of acquaintances being limited, people are more likely to marry relations. With regard to the question of marriages of the deaf, Professor Edward Allen Fay's work is so complete that the results of his six years' labour are particularly worthy of notice, for, as the introduction states, the book is a " collection of records of marriages of the deaf far larger than all previous collections put together," and it deals in detail with 4471 such marriages. The summary of statistics is as follows (Marriages of the Deaf in America, p. 134) .- NUMBER OF NUMBER OF PERCENTAGE. MARRIAGES. CHILDREN.
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