Max A. Goldstein (1870-1941)

Max A. Goldstein
Max A. Goldstein

Max A. Goldstein was born on April 19, 1870 to William and Hulda Goldstein of St. Louis and received his medical degree in 1892 from Missouri Medical College, precursor to Washington University School of Medicine. After an internship at St. Louis City Hospital, Dr. Goldstein traveled to Germany, Austria, England, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Scandinavia as part of a grand tour to complete his medical training. His interest in diseases of the ear, nose and throat led him to the internationally renowned Vienna Polyclinic to study with Dr. Adam Politzer (1835-1920), “father of modern otology.” While in Vienna, Dr. Goldstein heard a series of lectures presented by Dr. Victor Urbantschitsch (1847-1921), a proponent of aural training for deaf children.

It was at Dr. Urbantschitsch’s school for the deaf on the outskirts of Vienna, the Institution for the Deaf at Oberdoebling, where Dr. Goldstein observed how deaf children could be taught speech by using acoustic training methods with the use of voice and a specially constructed harmonica to stimulate dormant auditory senses. The Urbantschitsch Acoustic Method, despite its successes, was met with a great deal of skepticism as it was contrary to the prevailing view that deaf children were incapable of learning speech.

Adam Politzer
Viennese otologist Adam Politzer

When Dr. Goldstein returned to the United States in 1894, he applied Urbantschitsch’s Acoustic Method to deaf children with much success, while maintaining a private medical practice. Over the years Dr. Goldstein expanded these acoustic training methods into systematic and progressive exercises for deaf children and trained teachers of the deaf to apply these methods. Frustrated by the lack of adequate training programs for the deaf and deaf educators in the United States, Dr. Goldstein founded Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) in 1914, in the rooms above his medical office. By 1930, CID expanded to include a clinic for rehabilitation of deaf adults and research laboratories where scientists were recruited world-wide to study deafness.

In 1896, Dr. Goldstein founded The Laryngoscope, a medical journal that is still in publication. He edited and managed this journal until his death in 1941. Among his many achievements were founding The Society of Progressive Oral Advocates in 1918, an organization devoted to oral education of the deaf, and served as editor of Oralism and Auralism, the official publication. He also founded the St. Louis League of Hard of Hearing, now known as the St. Louis Hearing-Speech Center. In 1933, Dr. Goldstein was awarded The Gold Medal by the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society in recognition of his work in the education of the deafened child, the St. Louis Award for his great contributions to humanity and received an honorary LLD degree from Washington University.

Dr. Goldstein was the Director of CID and professor of research otology and speech pathology at Washington University from 1931 until his death in 1941.


Goldstein, Max A. The Acoustic Method and Its Evolution. Oralism and Auralism, April 1926.

Goldstein, Max A. Problems of the Deaf. St. Louis, MO: The Laryngoscope Press, 1933.

Rotophone Corporation. Descriptive Pamphlet of Acoustic Method Treatment as Estimated by Audiograms, Otologists’ Case Records and Selection of Phonograph (Acoustic) Records Indicated by Acoustic Chart. Jersey City, NJ: Rotophone Corporation, [n.d.]

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