“A Quiet World” Examines Progressive Hearing Loss

“A Quiet World” Examines Progressive Hearing Loss

Editor: I recently read David G. Myers’ new book “A Quiet World”, and I wanted to recommend it to people who are experiencing progressive hearing loss, and especially to their family members and friends. One of the things that amazes me during our hearing loss retreats is that hearing the story of an unrelated person with hearing loss is often a powerful inducement for hearing family members to understand what their loved ones are going through. So, those of you with hearing loss may want to read this book; but you surely want your loved ones to read it! Here’s the publisher’s press release.

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In our age of amplified music, assaultive environmental noise, and aging baby boomers, hearing loss has become an epidemic. Some 28 million Americans are hard of hearing, and their 15 million spouses and 50 million children struggle to support them, communicate with them, and help them live with their loss. Many hard of hearing Americans battle silently with their hearing difficulties, straining to stay connected to the world around them, reluctant to seek help.

David G. Myers knows what these millions of Americans are going through. A successful social psychologist, teacher, and author, Myers’s gradual hearing loss began to cause serious trouble in his career and in his relationships with loved ones as he approached age 50. He had watched his mother grow almost completely isolated as she lost her hearing, and he wanted to avoid the same fate. A Quiet World: Living With Hearing Loss tells the story of his journey from denial of his hearing loss to acceptance to an exploration of the technologies that offer help now and hope for the future.

Myers explains why he resisted having his hearing tested even though he was struggling in his daily life. He tells us candidly of the stress of guessing what people are saying, and of what it feels like to be laughed at when you’ve guessed wrong. He tells of participating in a moving church service while missing 40 percent of the sermon, and of leading a discussion group in which he couldn’t hear many of the contributions. Myers explains why his conventional hearing aids made him feel like his head was in a bucket and made the world seem like a noisy, clanging mess. And he explains how his wife Carol finally succeeded in pushing him to get help. Because spouses often play an important role in helping their partners deal with hearing loss, Myers gives us Carol’s own account of both her sympathy and her frustration with her husband’s denial of his problem.

As he sets out to address his hearing loss, Myers explores the limits and the great benefits of new technologies. He explains why so many people hate their hearing aids and hide them in drawers, and what it sounds like to put a hearing aid on for the first time. He tests the latest adjustable, digital aids and finds them remarkably effective in improving his quality of life. He explores the value of computers as communication tools for the profoundly hard of hearing, and talks to late-deafened people who have benefited from cutting-edge cochlear implants. Optimistic that progress is being made, he considers the prospects for reversing or curing hearing loss in the future.

A Quiet World is not just a book for the elderly, or for a small community of sufferers. It is a book for all of us–those who have lost or will lose some hearing as well as our parents, children, siblings, colleagues, and friends. Hearing loss is too often overlooked or ignored, with the result that many sufferers become more isolated than necessary. With A Quiet World, Myers wants to put this issue in the forefront of all Americans’ thinking about their health and well-being.

David G. Myers is available for interviews about his book and his experience. For more information, please contact Heather D’Auria, 203-432-8193 (phone), heather.dauria@yale.edu.