Holiday Gifts for the HOH

What’s an HOH? The acronym (pronounced ‘ho’) stands for Head of Household, House of Hades, Head Over Heels …. And Hard of Hearing.

This highly subjective list is for your favorite HOH, last definition. The books are some of my favorites, personal endorsements. The technology is randomly chosen. You may find a better or cheaper brand. Please share in the Comments section.

I’m not going to write about hearing aids, hearing assistive devices or PSAP’s (Personal Sound Amplification Products). Not that they aren’t great gifts: I know a man who gave his sister the hearing aids she couldn’t afford after he landed a new high-paying job.


Here are some of my favorites, shamelessly starting with my own.

*Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss (2018). A primer for veterans of hearing loss as well as newbies – and for anyone who lives, loves or works with someone with hearing loss.

*Shouting Won’t Help (2013) Yup, also by me. A memoir of losing my hearing and — for a while, my sanity — as I tried to adjust to my new self. I did eventually find my way to acceptance, and I share that journey.

*Gael Hannan’s funny and wise The Way I Hear It (2018) is, like my books, a combination of memoir and advice from someone who’s been there.

*Deaf Sentence, (2009). David Lodge’s classic and hilarious portrait of a clueless professor of linguistics coming to terms with aging via his hearing loss.

*El Deafo (2014). Cece Bell’s graphic novel/memoir about a young girl with a great big hearing aid is meant for kids, but this adult loved it.

[These links are to Amazon but you can buy any of them — in paperback, e-book and in some cases other formats – at B& or by asking your local bookstore to order them.]


Household Technology

*A sunrise alarm clock. There are lots of versions of this clock, which allows you to wake up to simulated sunrise (or a classic alarm). Wirecutter recommends the Philips Wake-Up Light HF 3520.

*TV Ears, an alternative to turning the set up to a volume that your next-door neighbor can hear. Williams Sound and Amazon both offer a variety of brands.

*A wireless strobe-light door chime. One of the more frustrating things about hearing loss is not being able to hear the doorbell. There are lots of brands, prices, and places to buy them.

*An ASL wall clock. Learn how to sign the numbers as well as what time it is. Available at Café Press as well as other retailers. 51CrF+bHS6L._SL500_


Protect Your Hearing

*Musicians earplugs. These allow you to hear what you want to while dampening loud sounds. Available at a wide range of prices, for professional musicians and anyone who loves music. Even if you don’t think it’s loud, it is.

*Noise-canceling earmuffs. Buy the kind made for yard work. They’re much cheaper than the $300 Bose, which is also excellent. Wear them to the stadium and they’ll protect your hearing and keep your ears warm.


Personal amplifiers.

*Bose Hearphones. These are $499, but people who use them say they are worth the price. Bose recommends them for “enhancing conversation.” Available at Bose, Best Buy and many other retailers.

*A Pocketalker. A simple and low-cost device for one-on-one conversation with someone with hearing loss. PocketTalker is the Williams Sound brand. Others are available.

Do something good for your favorite HOH and for HOH’s everywhere.

*HLAA Membership. Give your loved one a membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America, or make a donation in their name. You’ll be helping support HLAA’s mission of “information, education, support, and advocacy,” and introducing them to a world of people with hearing loss. “Hearing Life” magazine is a bi-monthly bonus.


Readers, what are your suggestions for HOH gifts you’d like to give or get?


For more about hearing health, my book “Smart Hearing.” will tell you everything I know about hearing loss, hearing aids, and hearing health.Smart Hearing Cover final

You can get it online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, in paperback or ebook for Kindle or Nook. You can also ask your library or favorite independent bookstore to order it.











13 thoughts on “Holiday Gifts for the HOH

  1. Thank you for your recommendations. I read Deaf Sentence several years ago and loved it. I just ordered El Deafo, which I will show to my grandchildren, who may be a bit old for it. I may also donate it to the school where my daughter works.



  2. This is a GREAT list, Katherine, both the books and the objects!
    Another favorite of mine is Colin Dexter’s “The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn”, a delightful Inspector Morse mystery. See also the DVD. Dexter himself was deaf; he left teaching for an office job in academia and writing. Most of his books have at least a moment or two in which HOH plays a role. I LOVED El Deafo and have recommended it to adults. The doorbell idea is great, too–they have various uses. And everyone just entering this territory needs a Pocketalker! Thanks for the great column, Katherine, and Happy Holidays!


  3. Most of my reading about hearing loss is from journal articles, but here are some other books that might be of interest:
    “Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life” by Gerald Shea
    “Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children” by Laura Mauldin
    “The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind” by Seth Horowitz


    • I’ve read Gerald Shea’s book, and Seth Horowitz reviewed Shouting Won’t Help when it came out in 2013. I’m not familiar with Laura Mauldin, but than you for suggesting all of these. My book Smart Hearing has a long list of books of interest to those in the hearing-loss community, under “resources” in the back.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember liking Hear Again by Arlene Romoff, and Rebuilt by Michael Chorost. Both books are about the experience of getting an implant.



  5. As a retired founder and president emeritus of a Hearing Loss Association chapter in Florida, I’d like to comment most favorably on following Katherine Bouton blogs. I highly recommend her blogs to others.


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