Champion - Katherine Bouton

Writer • Public Speaker

From: New York City, NY

Gradual Acceptance

“I was 30 when I first experienced a sudden loss in my left ear,” said Katherine. “The loss was progressive and eventually affected both ears. I didn’t acknowledge my hearing loss openly until about five years ago. Life was exhausting, I was demoralized, depressed, anxious, and always worried my secret would come out. I worked at the New York Times, a competitive environment, and I was afraid that if people know they would think I was too old or impaired for the job.”

After experiencing another rapid decline of her hearing range in 2009, Katherine decided it was time to take action and began utilizing a cochlear implant shortly thereafter.

Rediscovering Happiness

“The combination of hearing loss and the depression and isolation that accompanied it had cut me off from my friends and even from my family. Now that I’m open about it, everyone is happy to help me hear better, and my family life and friendships are closer and more loving and intimate, not to mention less fraught with the tension that unacknowledged hearing loss brings to any relationship.”

Empowering Others

“Now that I’m open about my hearing loss, I realize how damaging it is to deny it. I also realize that if we deny it, we reinforce the stigma that it is shameful, a sign of aging or weakness. I am now a writer and blogger on hearing health, and an advocate for equal access, education, and openness about hearing loss. My memoir, Shouting Won’t Help: Why I—and 50 Million Other Americans—Can’t Hear You, about my hearing loss, was published (in 2013) and helped bring about the issue of hearing loss to public attention. My blog, Hear Better With Hearing Loss, allows me to write frequently about hearing loss issues. I do a lot of public speaking to hearing loss groups, medical groups, and the general public. I’m working on a new book to be published (in the summer of 2015), Hear Better With Hearing Loss: A Practical Guide to Life, Love, and Hearing Aids.”

Why Katherine is a HearStrong Champion

“I am happy to be able to turn what I learned from my own difficult, sad experience into something that can benefit others, and help them avoid the pain and stress I went through. I love my new life as an educator and advocate about hearing loss.”

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