Why I - and 50 Million Other Americans - Can't Hear You
By Katherine Bouton
For twenty-two years, Katherine Bouton had a secret that grew harder to keep every day. An editor at The New York Times, at daily editorial meetings she couldn't hear what her colleagues were saying. She had gone profoundly deaf in her left ear; her right was getting worse. As she once put it, she was "the kind of person who might have used an ear trumpet in the nineteenth century."
Audiologists agree that we're experiencing a national epidemic of hearing impairment. At present, 50 million Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss - 17 percent of the population. And hearing loss is not exclusively a product of growing old. The usual onset is between the ages of nineteen and forty-four, and in many cases the cause is unknown.
Shouting Won't Help is a deftly written, deeply felt look at a widespread and misunderstood phenomenon. In the style of Jerome Groopman and Atul Gawande, and using her experience as a guide, Bouton examines the problem personally, psychologically, and physiologically. She speaks with doctors, audiologists, and neurobiologists, and with a variety of people afflicted with midlife hearing loss, braiding their stories with her own to illuminate the startling effects of the condition.
The result is a surprisingly engaging account of what it's like to live with an invisible disability - and a robust prescription for our nation's increasing problem with deafness.
"This 360 degree approach to the topic makes this more than just a memoir; it's a unique method of storytelling that educates, engages, and occasionally enrages the reader, who will come away with a new understanding of the widespread and often puzzling topic of hearing loss and how it can be overcome, or at least managed." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. A well-written, powerful book." - Kirkus
Katherine Bouton's book is not only entertaining - it is profoundly necessary. As the daughter of a hearing-impaired parent, I found that it offered me insight, inspired compassion, and made me feel less alone. I can't wait to share it with my mom!" - Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter
"Katherine Bouton offers a wealth of information and insight about a frustrating and isolating condition. Her book inspires those who suffer from hearing loss and educates those who wish to understand its vicissitudes." - Jerome Groopman, Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and staff writer for The New Yorker
"Katherine Bouton makes a brave personal contribution by underscoring the emotional harm deafness can cause. Open, frank, wise, up-to-date, and consistently informative, Shouting Won't Help will be of immense use to anyone dealing with hearing loss." - Peter D. Kramer, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University and author of Against Depression
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Katherine Bouton is a former editor at The New York Times, where she worked for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, as well as the daily Science and Culture desks. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and many other magazines and reviews. She is currently a regular reviewer and contributor to Tuesday's Science Times section. She lives in New York City with her husband, Daniel Menaker. They have two grown children.
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