... not just for those who are aging and contemplating hearing loss. It is the best primer I’ve ever read on sound and hearing, and full of advice for people of any age to consider if they want to preserve their ability to listen to music, carry on conversations in restaurants, be capable of accurately detecting sarcasm, or listen to the presidential debates (who’d want to lose that ability?) ... I wish this book could have been read by the five or six professors I had as a student, who tried and failed to explain how hearing actually works. Mr. Owen is gifted with analogies ... Mr. Owen also gives us a wonderful insight into the world of the hard of hearing and deaf.
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 ... 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.
Owen dutifully metes out the basics about the auditory system, but it's Volume Control's human-interest angle that enthralls ... Owen offers a heartbreaking riff on how military men and women, whose ears have always taken a beating, are even today given the message from higher-ups that wearing ear protection and complaining of hearing loss are signs of weakness ... Although Volume Control is inevitably cautionary, the book is not a scold. That's because Owen's curiosity rather than an agenda powers Volume Control.