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To Hear the Birds Sing: Conversations with my heart Paperback – November 6, 2009
About the Author
Marie Younkin-Waldman is also the author of "Simply South County", a collection of essays as well as a newspaper columnist. She is the recent host and producer of the television show "Tea with Marie". She is a graduate of The American College in Paris and has a Master's degree from The University of Rhode Island. She has been a teacher, family therapist and disability advocate. Marie is married to Myron Waldman and lives in Narragansett, Rhode Island. She has four adult children and seven grandchildren. When she is not enjoying gardening, yoga or book club she could be organizing teas for her favorite charities.
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Most of us with normal hearing have somewhat diminished hearing by the time we hit 60, and lots of us before that age, and we have to consider getting a hearing aid for about $3,500 or so.
Only those who have progressively lost most or all ability to hear at a young age will be practically deaf by age 20 or so.
This very well written book describes a modern miracle, the cochlear implant,which takes advantage of modern medicine and new computer chips which can be wired right into the hearing part of the brain.
Marie describes having the surgical operation and then in about 3 weeks after that she had the system "activated" and then it took a lot of getting used to the new, and at first sometimes painfully loud, sounds. Her brain had to be retrained to hear "normally" and her audiologist had to teach her about adapting to it,
and also patience.
She writes in a most interesting manner with wonderful descriptions of her important life events and the people she knew. As a young girl she had to learn sign language and lip reading and how to deal with increasing deafness, and when the implant gave her the ability to hear birds sing and music play, the emotional
experience was enormous. Now she can hear people in the back seat of the car talking and understand what they are saying. No need to be limited to lip reading now. She tells us clearly what the whole process is like.
I happened to know Marie and her sister, Frances, when they were 4 or 5 years old. Frances' hearing was and is normal. But Marie was getting deafer day by day.
I remember their grandmother feeling so bad for Marie not hearing the music that the whole family loved, and the old lady once said
"I don't think life would be worth living unless you could hear the great music that's been written for us."
But finally at last Marie can. Bravo Marie!
And then her bravery when she underwent an operation to restore her hearing. Her cochlear implant, though technologically challenging, was completely successful. She not only could hear the birds sing, she herslf sang at full voice! When I finished the last page, I felt inspired to dig within myself to find the courage that she lived her entire life. Thank you Marie!!
Michael E. Gordon, PhD
Author: Trump University Entrepreneurship 101: How to Turn Your IdeaInto A Money Machine," 2nd edition, 2010
This is a multilayered book: it is charming and sweet; it is full of wisdom and joy; as well as being an excellent insight into the feelings of individuals with hearing loss. I highly recommend it.