Book by David Myers Explores
The Experience of Hearing Loss
Posted October 9, 2000
HOLLAND -- Dr. David Myers of the Hope College
psychology faculty has written numerous books for students
and general audiences alike, and although they have all
concerned topics of interest to him, none have flowed so
directly from his own life as the latest.
He has written best-selling textbooks on
psychology and social psychology. He has written popularly-
acclaimed books on happiness and on "The American Paradox:
Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty." And now he has
written "A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss," released
this fall by Yale University Press, which is a first-person
account of his own encounter with gradual hearing loss and
its effect on his life.
"My perspective combines my vocation as a research
psychologist and writer with my experiences as the son of a
woman deafened late in life and as a hard of hearing
person," he writes in his preface. "This unusual
combination, it occurred to me one day, positioned me to
speak about hearing, hearing loss and hearing interventions
as both a participant and an observer."
According to Myers, some 28 million Americans and
some 350 million people worldwide live with hearing loss.
He notes that the hard of hearing are "a fast-growing group
because of the aging of our population and the cumulative
effects of amplified music, power mowers, motorcycles and
He has geared his book not only to the hard of
hearing, but also to their loved ones--those who help them
cope with their hearing loss. In the U.S., that latter
group includes some 15 million spouses and 50 million
"Drawing on both psychological research and my own
experience, I hope first to help you understand the
sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious experience of hearing
loss, and second to suggest how you might more effectively
offer love and advice," he writes in the preface.
"A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss" tells
of Myers' journey from denial of his hearing loss to
acceptance, and includes insights gained from others'
experiences as well. He also explores the technologies that
help now and offer hope for the future.
In the book, Myers explains why he resisted having
his hearing tested even as he struggled in his daily life as
he approached age 50. He tells of the stress of guessing
what people are saying, and of what it feels like to be
laughed at when wrong. He tells of missing 40 percent of
the sermon during a moving church service, and of leading a
discussion group in which he couldn't hear much of what was
said. He tells the funny side of hearing loss, with stories
of hard-of-hearing people whose missing a word caused them
to buy their child castanets for Christmas instead of a
casting net, or to end up in the wrong locker room.
He explores the limits and potential of
technology. He explains why 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 considers the
effectiveness of the latest adjustable, digital aids; the
benefits of cutting-edge cochlear implants; and the value of
computers as communication tools for the profoundly deaf.
Given what he views as the important role that
spouses play in helping their partners deal with hearing
loss, he also includes his wife's account of both her
sympathy and her frustration with his denial of the problem.
"A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss" is
available in hardcover for $18.50. Excerpts and links to
hearing loss resources are available at www.davidmyers.org.
Myers is the John Dirk Werkman Professor of
Psychology at Hope, where he has been a member of the
faculty since 1967. In addition to a dozen books, he has
written scientific and popular articles that have appeared
in some five dozen periodicals, ranging from "Scientific
American" to the "Christian Century." His work has been
covered in publications including "Newsweek" and "Time";
featured on ABC, NBC and National Public Radio; and
discussed in cover stories in "Psychology Today" and
"Redbook," among others.