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A chat with Michael Thal, author of Goodbye Tchaikovsky

  • Broadcast in Lifestyle
Who you calling old

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We are joined by Michael Thal retired from his teaching job when he was 51 years old due to a severe hearing loss. Rather than give up on life, he pursued a new career as a writer. Since 2001 he’s penned 3 published novels with a new one coming out this fall. He’s also written over 80 published articles for print magazines like Highlights for Children, San Diego Family Magazine, and Writer's Digest, to name a few.

Michael was inspired to write Goodbye Tchaikovsky due to a severe hearing loss at the age of 44. He left his job as a tenured sixth grade teacher seven years later because he couldn’t understand his students. Michael wrote Goodbye Tchaikovsky wondering what it would have been like if his hearing dropped out as a teen.

Goodbye Tchaikovsky is not just a novel about main character, David Rothman’s experience of transitioning between a hearing and deaf world. It is an emotional autobiography of hearing loss. Deafness is an unseen disability. We know a man is blind by the cane he uses to guide his walk. Her wheelchair easily identifies a disabled woman with Cerebral Palsy. Deaf people have to continuously remind others to talk slow so deaf people have a chance to understand their speech. Deaf are alone in crowds. They are isolated at parties. David’s story brings this conundrum alive to its readers.

Approximately (36 million) American adults report some degree of hearing loss. About 2-3 out of every 1,000 children born in the U S are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. The National Institute on Health estimates that approximately 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities. There are 4,000 new cases of sudden deafness occur each year in the United States. Yet deafness is the only disabilty where people get mad at the deaf