- Published on 24 April 2013
Katherine Bouton got tired of lying about her hearing loss and faking her way through life. A former editor at the New York times, Bouton, 65, has documented her struggles in a new book, Shouting Won’t Help: Why I – and 50 Million Other Americans – Can’t Hear You.Today, she routinely lets people know that she is profoundly deaf in one ear and very hard of hearing in the other. Even with the help of a hearing aid and a cochlear implant, she struggles to hear many conversations.
She recommends such honesty to others with hearing loss. "Once I started talking about my hearing loss, people were not only understanding but relieved," Bouton told USA Today . People who thought she was rude when she ignored them found out she sometimes couldn't hear them at all. Many people also wanted to know how to help. Bouton's book includes advice for the rest of us — the co-workers, friends and family members who want to better communicate with someone who can't hear very well.
Bouton writes that "deafness asks a lot of others." She expresses gratitude to her husband, grown children and friends. But she also says it's not realistic to expect them to always accommodate her. "Life is life. I'm not going to stop my friends from talking over each other or telling jokes that I miss," she says. "I still enjoy their company."
And, since communication is a two-way endeavor, she urges others with hearing loss to do their part to keep the lines open — and to avoid the isolation that so often leads to depression for the hearing impaired.