The treatment of deafness with radon was first suggested by Crowe and Baylor1 in 1939. The finding of large numbers of children with hearing defects in the high frequencies and the fact that many of these children had remarkable return of hearing after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy led them to believe that these high frequency defects were due not to nerve defect, as was commonly thought, but rather to subclinical otitis media and eustachian salpingitis. They expressed the opinion that it was probable that overgrowth of lymphoid tissue in and about the eustachian tube was responsible, especially as many of the children had had previous and adequate adenoidectomy. Nasopharyngoscopic examination revealed that such a condition existed, but, obviously, it would be impossible to correct this by operation. They therefore devised a method of irradiating the eustachian orifice with radon, which was successful.
The difficulty with the treatment as described by Crowe