Books, Uncategorized

Spotlight – Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found


Spotlight time again and this time I’m focusing on the book:


In 1997, Bella Bathurst began to go deaf. Within a few months, she had lost half her hearing, and the rest was slipping away. She wasn’t just missing punchlines, she was missing most of the conversation – and all of the jokes. For the next twelve years deafness shaped her life, until, in 2009, everything changed again.

Sound draws on this extraordinary experience, exploring what it is like to lose your hearing and – as Bella eventually did – to get it back, and what that teaches you about listening and silence, music and noise. She investigates the science behind deafness, hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers, sign language, and what the deaf know about these subjects that the hearing don’t.

If sight gives us the world, then hearing – or our ability to listen – gives us each other. But, as this engaging and intelligent examination reveals, our relationship with sound is both personal and far, far more complex than we might expect.

This book has been on my radar since it came out at the start of May, and playing a game of ping pong in my mind because I can’t decide whether I want to read it or not. At first, I was interested. I wanted to get into the head of a Hearing person who knows nothing of the Deaf world and see what they make of it. I was curious at how they might deal with the loss of their hearing. However, my personal experiences and viewpoints on deafness have decided to make their mark and make me look at this book through my own eyes. Basically, I’m struggling to take a step back and remain objective.

Yesterday I caught the last five minutes of this book on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week and I found myself a little irritated by Bella’s mentality. I couldn’t get it out of my head that sound was everything, that it was the only thing that mattered to her, and to me that felt narrow. But I know that I see deafness differently. That it is not a disease, that it is not clinical, that it is in fact a culture and way of a life. I look at my sister and I see pride, the expressiveness of Sign Language, and that there are more Deaf and Hard of Hearing people than we realise.

Maybe in that respect I am narrow minded. I always claim I’m not when it comes to deafness but maybe by struggling to decide on the reading of this book, I’m stuck in my ways. Perhaps this is a book I should read, to remind myself that not everybody knows the Deaf community and that hearing loss can be scary if it is unknown and unexpected.

So I guess I worked it out.

Would this be something that interests you?
What do you think you would get out of it?

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

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