William wilde's census of the deaf: A 19th century report as a model for the 21st century

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2 Scopus citations


Sir William Robert Willis Wilde (1815-1876) made many contributions to otology. Perhaps his greatest, and the one least appreciated, was his performing, analyzing, and reporting of the 1851 census of the deaf of Ireland. He is the first to recognize and document genetic deafness as a major cause in early-onset deafness. His census techniques used trained enumerators, and for each family suspected as having a deaf person, a physician was sent who, before obtaining the very detailed family and medical history, was required to obtain an informed consent. Wilde's career is analyzed to show how his previous publications led to his appointment in 1850 as the only Assistant Medical Census Commissioner for the 1851 census.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2010



  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • History of deafness
  • Informed consent
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Sir William Wilde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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