Chris Park: SOUND. A Story of Hearing Lost and Found.

In 1997 Bella Bathurst, author of 2 successful books on lighthouses, began to lose her hearing. For the next 12 years she was deaf, until a risky operation in 2009 restored her hearing.

In this beautifully-written book – published in association with the Welcome Collection that “aims to challenge how we think and feel about health” – she describes her amazing personal journey of losing then regaining her hearing, with candour and humour. She shares with us what it means to live with and without sound, and draws on the experiences of soldiers, rock musicians, surgeons, factory workers and interpreters who have coped with the challenges that deafness throws up.

I was particularly struck by how much, and in how many ways, losing her hearing affected her self-image, her social life, at times also her confidence and her ability to connect to other people. Yet she learned to adapt, and after her hearing was restored she even felt that part of the “new” [deaf] her had been stolen away.

Heart-warming, challenging, informative, never maudlin or self-indulgent, this is a great read “for everyone who ever listened”, as the back cover puts it. Listen and learn!