Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World

Riverhead. Oct. 2019. 304p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780525534228. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780525534242. SCI
According to New Yorker staff writer Owen (Where the Water Goes), we live in a noisy world of lawn mowers, power tools, leaf blowers, loud music, and recreational shooting. In this timely and informative account, the author explores different types of hearing loss, ways to protect our hearing, the newest hearing aid products, and changes in the hearing aid industry. In addition to his own tinnitus—ringing in the ears—Owen describes hearing loss experiences of friends, family members, and colleagues. He also examines why cochlear implants are controversial, explores education programs at the American School for the Deaf, and looks at cutting-edge research such as the use of gene therapy to correct certain types of hearing loss. Owen enumerates the things that inconvenience people about conventional hearing aids (besides their high price), and rounds out the topic by evaluating high-tech substitutes that work through smartphone apps.
VERDICT This well-researched and accessible introduction to the complicated subject of hearing loss is highly recommended for all science readers, not just those experiencing hearing impairments.
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