Science: Eastward the Tots and Sots

Christian Adolf Volf has studied the human ear for 25 years. A balding, Danish-born inventor and onetime Sonotone engineer, he calls himself an acoustical physicist.

Lecturing at Los Angeles' John Tracy ear clinic (named for Spencer Tracy's deaf son), Volf propounded a revolutionary theory: physiologists have been all wrong in teaching that the ear's semicircular canals are responsible for man's equilibrium. Equilibrium, said Volf, is an acquired trait that man has to learn by becoming "attuned to rhythmic conformity with the rotation of the earth."

Volf had observed that deaf people without semicircular canals seem to have no difficulty in balancing themselves, that...