Katherine Bouton is an advocate and educator for the deaf and hard of hearing. Her most recent book is “Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss” (October 2018).  Smart Hearing is an up-to-the-minute guide to the rapidly changing world of  hearing aids, including over -the-counter hearing aids., “hearables”, cochlear implants and assistive hearing devices.  Many of these new devices not only help you hear better but allow you to communicate wirelessly with your smart phone and household devices.

She is also the author of “Shouting Won’t Help,”(2013), a memoir  of losing her hearing in midlife and how it affected her, and of “”Living Better with Hearing Loss” (2015).  Katherine’s books are available at Amazon.com or at your favorite independent bookstore.

Her 40 year career in journalism began at The New Yorker and concluded with 22 years at The New York Times. She travelled the world as a free-lance magazine writer in the years between her employment at those two institutions.

Katherine is a frequent speaker on hearing loss issues, and speaks to both professional groups and hearing loss groups. She can be reached at katherinebouton@gmail.com.

She is Vice President of the New York City Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America and was until recently a member of the national Board of Trustees of HLAA.

19 thoughts on “About

  1. Any chance of having recorded version of your books? I have some hearing loss and I can no longer read books, but I listen to them on Audible.


      • Ms. Bouton:

        Someone could volunteer to read your books into a tape recorder with 90 minute tapes or a digital voice
        recorder for this gentleman. I am sure there are other visually impaired individuals who would like to
        her your books via audible devices. Many programs for the visually impaired and blind have volunteers
        read books and other periodicals into tape recorders or even podcasts.


    • Some of Katherine’s books are available for the Kindle.
      Check that they have ‘text to speech’ enabled.
      You should then be able to get Alexa (via an Echo Dot) to read it to you.
      Some Kindles have built in audio readers.
      You can also try the Kindle App however it might not work without an Audible version available.
      It’s not the same as having a human reading the book but better than nothing.


      • Thanks Robert Sigley. I think they’re all available as e-books. I don’t know about the “text to speech” imbed. I always thought the book had to be available as an audio book, which none of mine are.


  2. What are your thoughts on hearing-loss related disorders such as auditory dyslexia? This is the Mrs. Malaprop scenario with misheard words, e.g. goat is confused with ghost in a talk about Halloween costumes .


    • That’s beyond my level of expertise but read Oliver Sacks on Mishearings: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/oliver-sacks-mishearings.html. There are also a couple of good books on auditory processing disorder. You can find them on Amazon by googling. One is “When the Brain Can’t Hear.” Another excellent book is by a neurologist at UCSF whose name I can’t remember right now. Can’t remember the book title either. Maybe another reader can help. Or I’ll let you know when it comes to me. I wrote about it at some length in my book “Shouting Won’t Help.”


  3. […] Katherine Bouton in her book Shouting Won’t Help describes her tinnitus this way: “I have it easy, and in fact kind of like my tinnitus: it changes pitch from time to time, an ethereal deep outer space keening.” Silence is the paradoxical element for people with hearing impairment. External sounds are silenced by hearing loss, yet internal noise is increased. For people with normal hearing, periods of silence are a restorative measure for an overstimulated brain. […]


  4. When did you get your CI? I just had mine in March right before elective surgeries stopped. It has been hard finding “normal” situations to get used to them. Besides tinnitus, do you also have Meniere’s? Which of your books do you recommend for people with a CI? Just found your post about Undone & will start to watch


    • Hi Laura. I got my c.i. in 2009 when I was still working. It was a bad time for me all around and my job was very stressful, and I didn’t have time in those first months to practice with the c.i. But I would recommend that you do things like listen to recorded books. Listen first and then check with the written passage after each paragraph to see if you got it right. You might try TV without captions, although that’s hard because so often you can’t see the speaker’s face and there’s really no way to check. The c.i. companies all have online programs. I wrote about these a few weeks ago. I don’t have tinnitus but I had quite a struggled with vertigo. Oddly, it seems not to be hearing related — various experts including neurologists and otolaryngologists who specialize in vertigo said it was not Meniere’s and that it was probably Migraine Associated Vertigo. There’s no difference really except the name. My most recent book, Smart Hearing, is probably the best as a guide. It’s available only on Amazon as either a paperback or e-book. My first book, Shouting Wont’ Help, was a memoir of losing my hearing and my struggle to find my life again. Good luck with the c.i.


  5. Hi Katherine, How does your CI sound? Do you notice distortions; does it sound artificial? Or are you accustomed to the electronic hearing now as if it’s natural?


  6. I’m just plain scared; hearing loss in both ears (left worse with fluid) and tinnitus! First hearing aid thru insurance didn’t work well. Now going for more expensive Signia Pure Charge & Go 7 AX. Would love to know your thoughts. Found out about you and your books while reading an article you wrote on Helen Keller.


    • Dear Jane, It’s perfectly natural to be scared. Losing your hearing is a scary thing, especially if it’s progressive and you’re not sure why. I spent decades in disbelief that no one could tell me why I was losing my hearing and how much of it I would lose.
      I’ve lost most of it by now, but I’ve gained so many things that make up for it.
      First is getting the right pair of hearing aids. Where-ever you’re buying them, make sure that they sell more than one brand (that they’re not an outlet for that manufacturer, in other words). If you don’t like the way you’re hearing with the aids, and if the audiologist can’t correct the programming to make them work for you, ask to try another brand. In most states you have 45 days to make up your mind. Every state has some guaranteed trying out time, the shortest is a month I think. If you are near a Costco you might check out their aids. They have hearing specialists and audiologists on staff and sell name brand aids at a big discount, as well as their own Kirkland brand.
      Once you have a pair that seem to suit you, wear them all the time.
      Ask people to repeat what they’ve said and if you still don’t understand, ask them to rephrase it. Practice on your own by listening to recorded books and then checking your perception of what you thought you heard with the written text. There are a lot of online auditory rehab programs — Your audiologist might be able to help.
      What really helped me was finding other people with hearing loss. I belong to the Hearing Loss Association of America, which has chapters all over the country. Take a look at their website — hearingloss.org and check out their programs. My chapter, in New York City, also has a helpful website, hearinglossnyc.org. Come to one of our chapter meetings. They’re the first Tuesday of the month, 6-7:30. The schedule is posted on our website, free and open to call, and captioned. We’re meeting virtually for now and probably throughout the next year. There’s also ALDA, the Association for Late-Deafened Adults. I”m not as familiar with their programs, but I do know that they’re good.
      My books, Shouting Won’t Help and Smart Hearing, would be helpful. (My second book, Living Better with Hearing Loss, is superseded by Smart Hearing — some of the same information but updated.) They’re available on Amazon, but if you don’t want to buy the books (or can’t get them at the library) read back on my blog over the years. It’s free I’ve been writing since 2012 and have probably said everything in the posts that is in the books.
      Give yourself time to grieve your lost hearing and to get used to your hearing aids.
      Good luck!


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