Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life

Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life

by Gerald Shea
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Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life by Gerald Shea

Much has been written about the profoundly deaf, but the lives of the nearly 30 million partially deaf people in the United States today remain hidden. Song without Words tells the astonishing story of a man who, at the age of thirty-four, discovered that he had been deaf since childhood, yet somehow managed to navigate his way through Andover, Yale, and Columbia Law School, and to establish a prestigious international legal career.

Gerald Shea's witty and candid memoir of how he compensated for his deafness--through sheer determination and an amazing ability to translate the melody of vowels. His experience gives fascinating new insight into the nature and significance of language, the meaning of deafness, the fierce controversy between advocates of signing and of oral education, and the longing for full communication that unites us all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306821943
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 02/26/2013
Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Gerald Shea was born in New York City and has lived most of his life in New York and in Paris. He practiced law in both cities for many years with Debevoise&Plimpton as a member of the New York and Paris bars. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Yale University and Columbia Law School.

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Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ASLstudent More than 1 year ago
Dilcia Paguada Song Without Words- Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life By Gerald Shea Review Song Without Words- Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life By Gerald Shea, is about himself at the age of 6. He got sick with two infections, Chickenpox and Scarlet Fever at the same time. It got cured quickly and to the Doctor’s surprise he had not lost his hearing. Usually those who have got the virus, lose their hearing. Later on in the story we can see that this is not the case. When Gerald goes back to school he tells us that he is somewhat challenged in understanding some of his peers. Though Gerald is only six years old he does not understand what is going on, to him it’s like a game. As Gerald Sea gets older he progresses through his childhood and adulthood without any big complications. When people spoke he could only hear vowels not consonants, he called this “language of lyricals.” This caused him to not easily differentiate certain words like: tractor, factor,actor,and etc. We later learn that most of his upper and middle tonal hearing range was lost. Though Gerald was not told anything rude because of his loss of hearing he still feels uncomfortable with who he found out to be. By what I mean with “finding out who has become,” i'm emphasizing the fact that he did not know he was deaf. For example when he is in the Jet with his boss he is struggling to understand some of what he is saying. He had hearing aids but decided to use them. His boss later on invited him to some beer and he gets up to go get them. When the boss has left the scene he rapidly puts on the hearing aids. Here when can tell that Gerald is not ok with whom he is and though that being deaf would affect his job. While he was able to work Gerald was never ok with his loss of hearing and considered in somewhat embarrassing. Shea retired early and learned sign language in France and USA, which later made him more comfortable with himself. This is a very good book to let people know about the deaf culture because he lets the reader learn and better understand the misconceptions that many people view the deaf as. WORTH THE AMOUNT OF PAGES
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
Gerald Shea's 1913 SONG WITHOUT WORDS: DISCOVERING MY DEAFNESS HALFWAY THROUGH LIFE makes for pleasant, informative reading. I think of it as a "didactic memoir."  The author uses his own six plus decades of living in the USA, Saudi Arabia, France and elsewhere  to probe varieties and degrees of deafness.  ***   Born hearing, young Shea, without himself or anyone else noticing, at age six lost most of his middle and upper tonal hearing rage. The causes were, apparently, simultaneous attacks of chicken pox and scarlet fever. That his hearing was severely impaired was first noticed and proven during a medical examination a quarter century later!  ***   Astonishingly to more reader and reviewer than one, Gerald Shea, despite his severe and undiagnosed handicap, had navigated his way successfully through primary school, prep school, Yale University and Columbia Law School. The only two people even to come close to helping him discover his deafness had been two young women: girl friends in high school and in college. ***   Shea was in his 30s when he discovered that he was very, very deaf. He has spent the rest of his life coming to terms with that, eventually leaving his lucrative law practice for a less hectic, demanding life style.  ***   As he moves chronologically through his hearing-impaired decades, Gerald Shea lays out for us his self-created methods for coping with hearing sounds but not words coming at him from all directions. His hundreds of examples of "decoding" speech are perhaps the most compelling parts of his narrative.  ***   In addition, however, we learn much of the anatomy of the human ear, its connection to the brain, the history of deafness, the science and the education associated with deafness, hearing aids, cochlear implants, signing languages, the life of Helen Keller and much, much more.  ***   SONG WITHOUT WORDS is a good, instructive read. That a severely impaired but unusually intelligent and articulate person could go many years without becoming aware of his deafness is hard to believe. But there it is.  -OOO-