A rare hand made French ear trumpet in brass and ivory. The trumpet section arises from a narrow body curving through 90 degrees to end in a fitted ivory ear piece.
Sometimes car horns or musical horns are passed off in their unaltered states as ear trumpets, but these tend to have inappropriately wide ear pieces. The design, construction and patina of this instrument is consistent with an old bespoke hearing device. There is a fixed joint mid body and the trumpet section probably started its life as a musical horn and the large size of the receptor may be one reason it works so well. This is not a foolproof test of a bona fide ear trumpet (a funnel attached to a plastic tube might also pass), but the converse is not true and one should question the validity of any large ear trumpet which does not work. Nor is it so for the smaller aids such as ear tubes (which when not used in the specific circumstances for which they were intended were often ineffective) and various quack devices retained in the ear which were largely useless, despite vociferous claims to the contrary. In any event this ear trumpet collects sound and transmits it to the ear very effectively and was made for that purpose, from various parts probably by a French artisan in the late 19th century.