cover image A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss

A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss

David G. Myers. Yale University Press, $18.5 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-300-08439-9

""Some 28 million Americans and 350 million people worldwide live with hearing loss,"" psychologist Myers (The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty) explains in his compassionate and humorous new work; and he is one of them. As he maintains, to be without hearing is to be socially isolated. And, even more important, since language is necessary for learning, without an equivalent for the spoken word, childhood development can lag behind. In this 10-year journal of his experiences and observations, Myers charts the progression of his own hearing loss and compares it with that of his mother, who became profoundly deaf and, despite her family's efforts, increasingly isolated in a silent world all her own. As a loving observer, Myers's wife shares her sadness and frustration with her husband's growing problem and unwillingness, for many years, to do anything about it. In turn, he stresses that it is up to the affected individual to seek available help (he discusses new research and technological developments and provides a list of important resources) and to inform family, friends and colleagues so they can learn how to better communicate. As our society continues to age and more of us suffer from hearing loss, Myers offers an instructive and insightful memoir. (Dec.)