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Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  11 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The surprising science of hearing and the remarkable technologies that can help us hear better

Our sense of hearing makes it easy to connect with the world and the people around us. The human system for processing sound is a biological marvel, an intricate assembly of delicate membranes, bones, receptor cells, and neurons. Yet many people take their ears for granted, abu
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Lauren
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
We've all played the would-you-rather game, and I bet in all your time playing, you've included the age-old question, "Would you rather be deaf or blind?" Owen posits this same question in the introduction to Volume Control, saying that when he was a kid, he and almost everyone else he knew chose "deaf" without a doubt - without having the experience of either disability, being deaf seems way easier than being blind. You can still see the world, you can read lips or learn ASL, etc. But now, afte ...more
David Wineberg
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hearing gets no respect. We can imagine blindness by closing our eyes, but there’s no way to shut down our ears. And because they seem to bounce back after every abuse, from stereo speakers and earbuds to circular saws to motorcycles to rock concerts, we think we dodged a bullet and that we can take it.

But David Owen says that is not true. In Volume Control, he visits the experts, sees the experiments and the measurements, and shows that every incident causes irreversible damage. It
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Fred
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to think I would have found this a good read even if I hadn't recently purchased and started using hearing aids (Lively, btw, they are awesome). The author is a New Yorker writer, and this reads like a great New Yorker article should - learnedly discursive, but still approachable and full of interesting anecdotes and characters. I regret having been so reckless with my hearing, and the author's tales of fireworks, rock shows and power tools rang an all too familiar bell (or would have, ...more
Grace Sanchez
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
This book is so informative about the personal, social and societal cost of hearing loss and related conditions. I know so many people on this journey. I would recommend it to anyone trying to understand what it means for themselves, their loved ones, friends and in order to expand your compassion and knowledge. Many thanks for a very interesting read. My only suggestion would be to have illustrations of the anatomy of the ear and pictures of the devices you described in the book.
RMazin
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have ears or know anyone with ears, you need to read this book. David Owen has done all of us a favor by stressing the importance of hearing and sound. Your ears are more vital, more fragile and more endangered than you think. Owen begins his book with anecdotal tales that many of us can relate to. But then he takes a deeper dive into the anatomy of ears, types of hearing problems, technology and possible future devices. You may get somewhat lost as Owen descends into some of the details ...more
Rendiru
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s a good overview of how hearing and sound damage works, but I’m bothered by the anti-audiologist slant in the chapter “Beyond Conventional Hearing Aids.”

Still, as a resource for the general public, there is a lot of good information, presented in an easily accessible manner.
Monica St. Dennis
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and important.
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