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One of the most compelling story lost in the invention of the phone was the urgency of the great inventor Alexander Graham Bell to make a breakthrough in communications for the sake of a loved one. No one had more vested interest than Bell, whose mother was deaf. It’s been said that “the telephone, which the deaf could never use, owed its genesis to Bell’s unique understanding of the physiology of hearing.” Unfortunately, the phone as a product had overshadowed Bell’s ongoing commitment to the deaf and his many products he invented or designed to improve their lives.

Bell’s parents were educated people, and both his father and grandfather were speech experts. However, his mother, Eliza Grace Symonds, a portrait painter and an accomplished musician, started to lose her hearing when her son was twelve.

In 1861, a double misfortune occurred. Mabel Hubbard, Bell’s future wife, developed scarlet fever and also lost her hearing. Before his invention, Bell had taught single-mindedly at Sarah Fuller’s Boston Day School for the Deaf, and established a school for teachers of the deaf and a private school for deaf students in Boston, Massachusetts. It was another 15 years later before Bell began working with his wife on her speech and invented the phone the same year. Someone noted, “Alexander Graham Bell began by seeking to help the deaf, and he ended up with the telephone.”

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