I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language

Lydia Denworth. Dutton, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-95379-1
In this moving and informative book, former Newsweek reporter Denworth recounts her emotional and intellectual quest to help her deaf infant son hear. Throughout, she recreates the emotional highs and lows of the boy’s journey. Among the many luminous moments is a moving description of Denworth’s onset of sadness before her son’s cochlear implant surgery: “In the predawn darkness of a December morning,” she writes, “I watched Alex sleeping in his crib for a moment and gently ran my fingers along the side of his sweet head just above his ear. In a few hours, that spot would be forever changed by a piece of hardware.” Denworth balances such scenes with well-researched glimpses into the labs of researchers and doctors trying to understand the mechanics of the rich human aural experience. Of particular interest are the passages in which she explores brain plasticity, a potential explanation for why our still-primitive cochlear implants work at all: humans’ pliable brains adjust to, and improve on, the machines. “I began to understand that the brain was in there, that there was a miracle in play here,” she quotes one cochlear implant researcher. This is a book that parents, particularly of deaf children, may find indispensable. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 04/17/2014
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-14-218186-7
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