A Button in Her Ear

a button in her ear

A Button In Her Ear

Submitter: Here’s one that’s truly, truly awful. I came across it recently when another library in our system requested it for a patron. I somehow doubt the patron knew what they were getting.  The book is from 1976, and while the story itself may still be a good means of helping children understand hearing loss, the drawings are woefully out-of-date. Nobody uses a hearing aid like that anymore; most kids these days would think little Angela was the proud owner of a brand-new iPod. (I almost said “Walkman,” but had to remind myself that Sony doesn’t even make those anymore! Guess it’s time to add my cultural references to the weeding pile as well!)

Holly: A button in her ear?  She wishes!  I am willing to bet this book doesn’t talk about lots of hearing loss technology, like cochlear implants and two way pagers.  Even closed captioning wasn’t as prevelant in 1976 as it is now.  Reading this book to a child with hearing loss, or to any child so they understand hearing loss better, is not helping.  It’s just misinforming.

hearing test


hearing aid




  1. I’m a moron because I was thinking about an actual button and was confused by the title. I was thinking why a button would be in someone’s ear. It does kind of look like she’s listening to her iPod. Those poor kids imagine how horrible it would be if they lost that thing.

  2. Groovy Afro on the boy with the clunky analog machine there. When will they invent those societal-changing microchip thingies?

  3. Not sure why that girl in the book needs that particular model–my cousin got her first hearing aid fitted when she was ten years old in 1968, and started with a behind-the-ear model that was way less cumbersome than that.

  4. My son just got his first pair of hearing aids (Not covered by most insurance plans–$3500!!). The clear molds and smaller behind the ear units make it almost impossible to tell he is wearing them. I usually have to look for a flash of blue under his blond hair to see if he has them in. His father, who got his first pair of hearing aids in 1974 or 1975 also had behind the ear units–although bigger. I think his mother had the kind that is pictured, but she would be 77 if she were alive today. Anyway, my son would not be able to relate to this book, so….weed!!

  5. Oh my…I recognized that book as soon as I saw it…because it was still in my collection! I have promptly removed it, and now realize that I probably need to weed that section. :S It’s only my second year at my library, so I’m still finding hidden gems like this one!

  6. Jennifer–I believe it! We had this book at an elementary school library…I had to keep it a while until I could afford to update (the space books came first!).

  7. When I studied deaf education, I was actually surprised to see how many children were still given these models of hearing aids, especially if they were very young and profoundly deaf. This was only about five years ago.

  8. My daughter is 25 and was diagnosed with hearing loss at 4 years old. This was the only book I could find that described the diagnostic process that was similair to hers. We used the book to introduce her hearing aides to her kindergarten classmates. The “harness” you refer to is for an FM system that is used for the student to have clear sounds from the teacher.
    If you are knocking the book, maybe you should know more about the equipment used in school systems.
    I would appreciate any newer books you come across that would help hard of hearing children feel like they are not alone.

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