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Your summer (nonfiction) reading list

Contributed by , staff writer for Healthy Hearing

Pull up a big piece of shade, a stretch of beach or a overstuffed chair and get comfortable with one of these summer reads. This nonfiction selection provides insightful looks into the lives of deaf and hearing-impaired families and highlights several guides for hearing health.

Nonfiction Pieces        

The Story of My Life

by Helen Keller

A classic American autobiography covering the first 22 years of Helen Keller's life. The story covers her first communication breakthrough at the water pump with teacher Anne Sullivan to her acceptance into Radcliffe College. The book was the basis for The Miracle Worker, a Tony Award-winning play and Academy Award-winning film and is considered one of the most inspiring autobiographies of all time.

I Can Hear You Whisper

by Lydia Denworth

When Lydia Denworth's son was diagnosed with significant hearing loss at age two, the acclaimed science journalist began interviewing experts on language development, neuroscientists, Deaf leaders and innovators of ground-breaking technology in an attempt to understand the best course of action. Recommended for anyone with deafness in the family or a desire to understand how hearing works.

story of my life
Helen Keller's book, "The Story of
My Life."

Shouting Won't Help: Why I - and 50 Million Other Americans - Can't Hear You

by Katherine Bouton

Bouton recounts her journey into sudden deafness and her return to the hearing world thanks to the wonders of technology. In addition to her own story, Bouton includes interviews with doctors, audiologists, neurobiologists and others looking for a cure, as well as stories from others with hearing loss. Recommended for those with hearing loss, as well as their families, friends and caregivers. A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013.

Burn Down the Ground

by Kambri Crews

Crews takes a look back at her unconventional life as the hearing child of deaf parents in rural Texas. She explores the complicated bond with her father, a hard-working man with a violent temper which eventually lands him in a maximum-security prison.

A Journey Into the Deaf World

by Harlan Lane, Robert Hoffmeister, Ben Bahan

Three distinguished scholars of the deaf world combine thought-provoking intellectual perspectives with enlightening first-hand accounts of life in the deaf world. One can hear, one is deaf, and one is the child of deaf adults (CODA).

Rebuilt: My Journey Back to the Hearing World

by Michael Chorost

After receiving a cochlear implant, Chorost is returned to the world of sound and finds the technology allows him to connect with others in surprising ways.

If a Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and be Heard

by Jennifer Rosner

Author Jennifer Rosner is stunned when her daughters are born deaf, and finds a hidden history of deafness in her family that goes back generations. She imagines her deaf relatives and the creative ways they dealt with their world, and chronicles the decisions she and her husband make about hearing aids, cochlear implants and sign language.

Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

by Myron Ulberg

As the hearing son of deaf parents, Myron Ulberg was called upon frequently to explain the elusive nature of sound. The memoir is as much a story of growing up in the Depression, the War and the early fifties as it is of young boy who is asked to be his deaf father's ears and mouth in the stores and streets of Brooklyn.

Raising Kids With Cochlear Implants: Personal Narratives From a Family's Journal

by Amy Milani, Ph.D.

Using excerpts from her personal journal and other narratives, author Amy Milani chronicles the joys and struggles parents experience when helping children with cochlear implants transition into the hearing world. As the parent of both a son and daughter with cochlear implants, Milani encourages parents with hearing-impaired children to get answers.

Guides and How to Books

While these books may not be the most relaxing reads on the list, they can be valuable resources to keep in your personal library.

The Parents' Guide to Cochlear Implants

by Patricia M. Chute and Mary Ellen Nevins

A friendly, easy to follow guide which walks parents through each step of the process, from having their child evaluated, choosing an implant center, the surgical procedure, device maintenance and helping their child adjust to and successfully use the device.

The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind

by Seth S. Horowitz

This book explains how we process what we hear every day and how it affects our brains and our minds. Horowitz, a Brown University neuroscientist, takes a fascinating look at the science of sound, with the ultimate goal of creating understanding and respect for our auditory environment.

The Ultimate Consumer's Guide to Buying Hearing Aids

by L. Banks

This 41-page guide walks consumers through the hearing aid purchase process, beginning with how to choose where to go to get your hearing checked, definitions of hearing healthcare professionals, what to expect during the hearing evaluation, questions to ask your healthcare provider and what to expect when wearing hearing aids.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hearing Loss

By House Clinic, William M. Luxford, M.D., M. Jennifer Derebery, M.D., Karen I. Berliner, Ph.D.

Written by certified otolaryngologists of the House Clinic, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hearing Loss covers conditions and treatments of hearing loss along with methods of treatment and prevention, including

  • the most familiar symptoms of hearing loss,
  • details about conditions such as ear wax, swimmer's ear and ear infections,
  • treatment information, including hearing aids, surgery, and hearing protection, 
  • helpful hints for those with hearing loss as well as their family and friends.

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