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That there were deaf persons in the remote past is evident from the fact that the causes of deafness, such as disease, were as prevalent then as now.
Before the Christian Era, their condition was deplorable.
In fact, Webster, under the word "Asylum", classes the deaf and dumb with the insane.
Efforts are consequently being made to place such institutions under the control of educational rather than of charity boards.
Brute animals that are deaf, are deaf and dumb; the little child, before it has learned to speak, is mute, but not dumb.
There are found individuals who can hear, but cannot speak.
On account of the great progress made, especially during the last century, in the education of deaf-mutes, by which a large percentage are taught to speak, the term mute is also omitted when speaking of matters pertaining to that class formerly designated as "deaf and dumb".
Moreover, they are deprived of the usual Sunday instructions and sermons.
By many they were considered as under the curse of heaven ; they were called monsters and even put to death as soon as their deafness was satisfactorily ascertained.