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Though she's never been able to pinpoint the cause of her affliction, former New York Times senior editor Bouton remembers the day she began to lose her hearing and suddenly found herself among the ranks of the estimated 275 million people around the world with some type of hearing impairment. She recounts her story and expands it to include the experiences of others (each chapter closes with a profile of a person with a hearing disability, including a British opera singer, a psychoanalyst, and a professor), crafting a study rich in detail and broad in scope that touches on the intricacies of cochlear implants and the increasing amount of ambient noise in our society, as well as the shame, frustration, and guilt the hearing impaired face in the workplace and in private conversation. 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. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency Inc. (Feb. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* According to the latest statistics, 48 million Americans, or a whopping 17 percent of the population, have some kind of hearing loss. Bouton, a former senior editor at the New York Times, is one of those people. In her compelling memoir, she chronicles her own progressive loss over the decades, from a partial decline in her left ear at 30 to eventual complete loss. Hearing loss, she says, follows the traditional stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, and, finally, a reluctant acceptance. And, she notes, it affects people of all ages, not just the elderly. Employing an engaging and even entertaining writing style, Bouton discusses the causes of hearing loss, the often horrendous and ubiquitous noise levels that surround us in the modern age, the ongoing stigma associated with hearing loss, the benefits and disadvantages of hearing aids and cochlear implants, the psychological impact of hearing loss, the lack of insurance coverage for hearing aids, and the debilitating toll that hearing loss can take in the workplace. In addition, she examines the condition's ugly stepsisters, tinnitus and vertigo, before concluding on an encouraging note about ongoing research for a biological cure. Each chapter includes short profiles of people with hearing loss. An important and remarkable book.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2010 Booklist