- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Ships in 1 to 3 days
This title in other editions
I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Languageby Lydia Denworth
Synopses & Reviews
An investigation into the science of hearing, child language acquisition, neuroplasticity, brain development, and Deaf culture spurred by Lydia Denworth's discovery that her son couldn't hear her lullabies and the family's life-altering decision to give him a cochlear implant.
Lydia Denworth's third son, Alex, was almost two when he was diagnosed with profound and progressive hearing loss. As both a science writer and the mother of young children, Denworth was steeped in messages about the importance of enrichment to the developing brain. She became determined to do whatever it took to allow Alex to hear and acquire spoken language, a quest that ultimately led to a controversial piece of emergent superhero technology”: the cochlear implant.
In this engrossing journey to the frontiers of science, readers will learn why sound is so important to the developing brain, what new possibilities come from the latest research, and what exactly is going on when you focus your hearing at a cocktail party. Denworth goes beyond her personal experience with her son, interviewing the worlds leading experts on child language development and hearing technology, leaders in the deaf community, and neuroscientists.
I Can Hear You Whisper weaves together Alex's story with the tales of two scientific revolutions: the centuries-long quest to develop the cochlear implant and sciences changing understanding of the brains remarkable plasticity—all told against the sometimes-incendiary backdrop of identity politics and medical ethics.
"In this moving and informative book, former Newsweek reporter Denworth recounts her emotional and intellectual quest to help her deaf infant son hear. Throughout, she recreates the emotional highs and lows of the boy's journey. Among the many luminous moments is a moving description of Denworth's onset of sadness before her son's cochlear implant surgery: 'In the predawn darkness of a December morning,' she writes, 'I watched Alex sleeping in his crib for a moment and gently ran my fingers along the side of his sweet head just above his ear. In a few hours, that spot would be forever changed by a piece of hardware.' Denworth balances such scenes with well-researched glimpses into the labs of researchers and doctors trying to understand the mechanics of the rich human aural experience. Of particular interest are the passages in which she explores brain plasticity, a potential explanation for why our still-primitive cochlear implants work at all: humans' pliable brains adjust to, and improve on, the machines. 'I began to understand that the brain was in there, that there was a miracle in play here,' she quotes one cochlear implant researcher. This is a book that parents, particularly of deaf children, may find indispensable." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A skilled science translator, Denworth makes decibels, teslas and brain plasticity understandable to all.” —Washington Post
Lydia Denworth's third son, Alex, was nearly two when he was identified with significant hearing loss that was likely to get worse. Denworth knew the importance of enrichment to the developing brain but had never contemplated the opposite: deprivation. How would a child's brain grow outside the world of sound? How would he communicate? Would he learn to read and write? An acclaimed science journalist as well as a mother, Denworth made it her mission to find out, interviewing experts on language development, inventors of groundbreaking technology, Deaf leaders, and neuroscientists at the frontiers of brain plasticity research. I Can Hear You Whisper chronicles Denworth's search for answers—and her new understanding of Deaf culture and the exquisite relationship between sound, language, and learning.
When her toddler son, Alex, was identified with significant hearing loss, Lydia Denworth worried about how well his brain and language skills would develop outside the world of sound. An acclaimed science journalist as well as a mother, Denworth began interviewing experts on language development, inventors of groundbreaking technology, leaders in the Deaf community, and neuroscientists at the frontiers of brain plasticity research.
One mother's engrossing journey to the frontiers of science, I Can Hear You Whisper will be embraced by parents of children who want to better understand the exquisite relationship between sound, language, and learning.
About the Author
LYDIA DENWORTH is a former Newsweek reporter, London bureau chief at People, and professor of journalism at Fordham. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Child, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
What Our Readers Are Saying