Shouting Won't Help
Why I--And 50 Million Other Americans--Can't Hear You
By Katherine Bouton
Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374263041, 276pp.
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
List Price: $26.00*
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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.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013
“Poignant, enlightening . . . a relatable, inspiring narrative of taking control, going public and finding comfort and empowerment in connecting with others facing similar difficulties. A well-written, powerful book.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“[A] compelling memoir . . . Employing an engaging and even entertaining writing style, Bouton discusses the causes of hearing loss . . . An important and remarkable book.” —Booklist (starred)
“Shouting Won’t Help is a fascinating and frequently moving exploration of the hearing loss that strikes so many of us and those we love. The book is filled with enlightening personal observations, wise advice, and answers to frequently asked questions. If you’ve ever said ‘What?,’ gotten annoyed at those who do, had a miserable experience at an expensive but cacophonous restaurant, or wondered which is most dangerous to your health—sex, drugs, or rock and roll—this book is for you.” —Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of The Language Instinct
“The world is getting noisier, but fortunately we have Katherine Bouton, whose talent for listening remains undiminished by her hearing loss. Her book is both a moving memoir and an indispensable resource for everyone who cares about their ears.” —Deborah Solomon, author of Utopia Parkway
“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
After going deaf at the age of 30, writer Katherine Bouton's entire life changed. In her new book, "Shouting Won't Help," Bouton shares how she came to terms with hearing loss, and why more attention needs to be paid to a condition that affects nearly 50 million Americans. More at NPR.org
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