As an audiologist, I have worked with many patients who are struggling with hearing loss. I have seen firsthand how hearing loss can affect every aspect of a person's life, from social interactions to work to personal relationships. One of the best ways that patients can learn about hearing loss and its impact is by reading books that explore the subject in depth. In this definitive guide to books about hearing loss, I will discuss some of the best and most informative books on the topic, as well as provide some insights and recommendations for reading.
We’ll look at a few categories of books from self-help to fiction and books for kiddos dealing with hearing loss.
Let’s dive in!
Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World by David Owen
This book delves into the social and cultural aspects of hearing loss, exploring how our society views and treats those with hearing impairments. It also provides practical tips for managing hearing loss, such as strategies for communicating in noisy environments and navigating the healthcare system.
The Way I Hear It: A Life With Hearing Loss by Gael Hannan
Written by someone who has lived with hearing loss for most of their life, this book offers a personal and honest account of the challenges and triumphs that come with hearing impairment. It also includes tips for coping with everyday situations and navigating relationships.
Living Better With Hearing Loss: A Guide to Health, Happiness, Love, Sex, Work, Friends . . . And Hearing Aids by Katherine Bouton
This book covers a wide range of topics related to hearing loss, including the emotional impact, communication strategies, and tips for living with hearing aids. It also includes personal stories from individuals with hearing loss and advice from experts in the field.
Hearing Loss for Dummies by Frank Lin and Nicholas Reed
Drs Lin and Reed from John Hopkins School of Medicine outline everything you need to know about hearing loss when it comes to understanding this common condition and treatment approaches. This book is appropriate for both patients and their families.
How to Talk to People with Hearing Loss by Mary Florentine, Julia Florentine, and Michael Epstein
This book provides practical tips for communicating with individuals who have hearing loss, from the proper way to get someone’s attention to effective communication strategies in different settings.
Exploring the realm of fiction, we find numerous stories that feature characters with hearing loss. These narratives not only foster empathy and understanding but also highlight the diverse experiences of individuals with hearing loss. Here are a few noteworthy adult fiction books with deaf characters.
Deafening by Frances Itani
Set during the time of the First World War, the book tells the story of Grania, a young girl who loses her hearing after a bout of scarlet fever. The book beautifully explores her journey, from the challenges and triumphs of her life to her love story with a hearing man who goes to war.
The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn by Colin Dexter
This is a detective story where the central character, Nicholas Quinn, is deaf. The book delves into the world of lip-reading and sign language as vital clues are decoded in the murder mystery. The portrayal of a deaf character in such a prominent and active role adds a unique dimension to the narrative.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
This beautifully illustrated novel tells two parallel stories, one of which follows Rose, a girl in the 1920s who is deaf. The stories eventually intertwine in a fascinating exploration of history, deaf culture, and the power of connection.
The Stand by Stephen King
One of the key characters in this epic novel, Nick Andros, is deaf and mute. His character is integral to the story, showing strength, intelligence, and leadership, offering a multifaceted portrayal of a character with hearing loss.
These books not only provide a deeper understanding of the world of those with hearing loss, but they also bring forward varied and nuanced perspectives, making them excellent additions to any reading list.
Moving on to memoirs, these books provide a deeply personal look into the lives of individuals grappling with hearing loss. They offer a first-hand experience, weaving a narrative of resilience, adaptation, and profound insight. These memoirs are not just about hearing loss, they encompass the entire gamut of human experiences - the struggles, the victories, the intimate relationships, and the undeniable strength of spirit. Here are some of the notable memoirs that delve into the world of hearing loss.
Rebuilt: My Journey Back to the Hearing World by Michael Chorost
In this memoir, Chorost shares his experience of suddenly losing his hearing at the age of 21 and his journey towards getting a cochlear implant. He also delves into the emotional impact of hearing loss and the social stigma surrounding hearing aids.
Shouting Won't Help: Why I - and 50 Million Other Americans- Can't Hear You by Katherine Bouton
In this memoir, author Katherine Bouton explores her own experience with hearing loss as well as the larger societal issues surrounding it. She also provides valuable insights into navigating the world with a hearing impairment.
Life After Deaf by Noel Holsten
In this candid and humorous memoir, Holsten shares his journey of sudden deafness and the challenges he faced in adjusting to a new way of life. He also provides helpful tips for coping with hearing loss on a practical level.
Diving into the realm of children's literature, there is a myriad of heartwarming and enlightening books that feature characters with hearing loss. These stories play a pivotal role in fostering empathy, understanding, and inclusivity among young readers. Not only do they provide a relatable narrative for children with hearing impairments, but they also enable children with normal hearing to gain insights into the experiences of their peers who may be navigating the world a little differently. Let's explore some of these influential children's books that delve into the experiences of characters with hearing loss.
El Deafo by Cece Bell: This is a heartwarming graphic novel based on the author's own experiences as a child dealing with hearing loss. A beautiful story about accepting one's differences and finding the superpower within.
Jack and the Crunchy Leaves: A Book about Hearing Loss and Friendship by Julia Florida: This picture book follows the story of Jack, a young boy with hearing loss, as he navigates his first day at a new school. It teaches children about empathy and understanding towards those with hearing impairments.
Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson: This delightful book features a character who is hard of hearing, teaching children about empathy, patience, and the importance of clear communication.
Can You Hear a Rainbow? The Story of a Deaf Boy Named Chris by Jamee Riggio Heelan: This book gives a detailed insight into the life of a deaf child, promoting understanding and acceptance.
The Printer by Myron Uhlberg: The story introduces us to a boy and his deaf parents, set in the 1930s. A touching tale of love, understanding, and adaptation.
A Button in Her Ear by Ada Bassett Litchfield: A story about a young girl who uses a hearing aid, this book promotes the understanding of hearing aids to children.
I’m Deaf and It’s Okay by Lorraine Aseltine: A young boy, who is deaf, accepts who he is and shows that he can do anything he likes.
Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman: Moses and his school friends, who are also deaf, attend a concert where the percussionist is also deaf. The book is a great introduction to American Sign Language.
Navigating the world with hearing loss can be challenging, but remember, you are not alone. These books not only offer a wealth of information on understanding and managing hearing impairment but also provide a sense of community and understanding. From self-help advice and memoirs to children's books, these narratives shed light on different aspects of hearing loss. They empower us to foster empathy, educate ourselves and others, and build a more inclusive society. Whether you are personally affected by hearing loss, knowing someone who is, or simply want to broaden your understanding, these books are valuable resources.