David Owens includes plenty of examples of hearing loss and difficulties throughout his excellent book. For example, Owen describes Stephen Cobert’s lost of hearing in one ear after an operation (p. 69). Arnold Palmer wore hearing aids in each ear from his 40s to the end of his life (p. 9). And as we age, we have more hearing problems. Millions of older Americas have to deal with tinnitus. More millions can’t make out what is being said at the other end of the dinner table in a restaurant.

But, help is on the way! David Owen’s profiles new companies who are introducing digital products that deliver better hearing for reasonable prices. New surgical techniques may restore some hearing losses. Owens explains how our hearing works and shows that seeking help NOW can prevent more drastic hearing losses in the next few years. New research could help us hold on to the hearing we still have.

How is your hearing? GRADE: A
1. Pardon? — 1
2. Our world of sound — 13
3. The body’s microphone — 31
4. When hearing fails — 43
5. Cicadas in my head — 65
6. Conductive hearing loss — 91
7. Hearing aids — 117
8. Stigma — 151
9. Beyond conventional hearing aids — 165
10. Cochlear implants — 197
11. Asylum — 213
12. The mice in the tank — 227
13. Volume control — 245
INDEX — 283


  1. Deb

    My brother and I both have mid-range tonal loss in our left ears—possibly there’s a genetic factor or it’s just a coincidence. As the audiologist told me, a hearing aid wouldn’t really help that sort of deafness: a hearing aid helps amplify sounds you CAN hear, but will not allow you to hear sound your ears cannot hear. It’s a minor issue—sometimes I have to turn my head slightly to hear something, but other than that, I’m fine.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, a friend of mine fell on black ice and hit his head. He was diagnosed with a concussion and every day since that incident he’s had ringing in his ears. He’s tried dozens of remedies…but none work. The doctors tell him he’s just going to have to live with his condition.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    My brother went pretty deaf fairly young. He was supposedly told that it was something “hereditary” even though I’ve never heard of anyone else in the family who had it, but no one who knows him believes it was other than sitting in the first five rows of incredibly loud rock concerts at the Fillmore East two or three nights a week. He’s had hearing aids for years. My parents had hearing issues when they got older. My mother’s solution was to turn the television volume up louder and LOUDER. My father did have at least one hearing aid towards the end. Jackie is in denial but I have noticed she has trouble hearing somewhat. She did finally get it checked a couple of years ago, and while it is OK for the moment, she still has potential future issues. My hearing is still pretty good, though there are definitely certain television shows with low or muddy sound that give me more of a problem these days. But often, I find myself repeating lines to Jackie that she just isn’t getting.

  3. Dan

    Hearing loss can be more debilitatng than blindness. As it becomes more difficult to communicate, some people — or their partners, family, social circle, etc. — simply quit trying.

    1. george Post author

      Dan, you are so right! David Owens cites several authorities who deal with hearing loss patients. Many patients lose hope as therapies fail…and then they just tune out. Very sad.

  4. Cap'n Bob Napier

    I continually get junk mail from hearing aid companies, which I rip up while screaming, “I ain’t deef, you bastards!” Linda got tinnitus a couple of years ago after snapping goggles against an ear at the pool! Same diagnosis: learn to live with it! Though why anyone would choose to read this book is beyond me!

    1. george Post author

      Bob, understanding a problem helps solve it. Hearing problems become more common as we age. David Owen presents some intriguing technology in the later chapters that might help us hear better.

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, my father got hearing aids when he turned 70, but he didn’t like them and frequently didn’t wear them to family events.


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