Shouting Won't Help: Why I--and 50 Million Other Americans--Can't Hear You

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Macmillan, Feb 19, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 276 pages
2 Reviews

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


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pbjwelch - LibraryThing

To quote the New Yorker summary: "Bouton's personal narrative, which offers essential insight into the subtle but crippling ways that this 'hidden disability, one often borne in secret', can upend ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - olevia - LibraryThing

I lived this experience (the losing of much of the hearing in one ear, along with the tinnitus & a touch of vertigo) for a short time a few years back for apparently no better cause than "shifting of ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

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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