Sound by Bella Bathurst
Bella Bathurst was in her late 20s when her hearing began to fade, said Alice O’Keeffe in The Guardian. Having always expected her senses to “get on with the job”, she now found herself “pushing up the volume on the TV, asking people to repeat things, missing the phone”. Advised that her hearing loss was connected to past head injuries, and would only “get worse”, Bathurst became “angry” and “sad”. In this “fascinating” book, she interweaves her own story with research into the wider phenomenon of hearing loss, which affects around 11 million people in the UK. While those “born deaf” use sign language and “have a distinct culture”, Bathurst points out that the “deafened” often “try to hide”, and have a high chance of becoming depressed.
There is, however, a happy ending to this story, said Rupert Christiansen in the Literary Review. “After a decade of decline and frustration”, Bathurst discovered that her initial diagnosis was wrong; her condition was the result of bone growth in her middle ear. An operation in France removed the “offending bone” and, after some initial doubts, her hearing was restored. It’s a “tear-jerking” finale to a “brave and important” book.