In her late 20s, British journalist Bella Bathurst (The Lighthouse Stevensons) noticed something disturbing: her hearing was getting worse, gradually but undeniably. By age 28, she had almost entirely lost the ability to hear. Floundering in a world that grew more and more silent, Bathurst dove into research about noise, sound frequencies, hearing loss, deaf culture and possible cures. Her memoir, Sound, takes readers on a tour through the not-quite-silent land of deafness and the ways hearing connects people to the world.
Initially, Bathurst couldn't believe her own (failing) ears: Wasn't hearing loss for older people? But, as she learned, people lose their hearing for all kinds of reasons. Some, like rock musicians and factory workers, pursue careers that put them at greater risk for deafness. Many of these people hide or minimize their hearing loss, as Bathurst sought to do. Embarrassed by her own deafness yet fascinated by all things aural, she toured a shipbuilding hangar, delved into the life of Beethoven and cajoled several musicians and sound engineers into discussing hearing loss and its difficulties. She writes movingly of her struggle to accept her deafness as well as the eventual transformative experience of regaining her hearing through surgery--when she found herself drunk on the poetry of accents and "sound's unsayable loveliness."
Packed with detail about the physiology of hearing, the intricacies of acoustics and Bathurst's particular experience, Sound is a powerful argument for true listening--which, as she says, is "when all the interesting things start to happen." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger atCakes, Tea and Dreams