Dr Sally Austen in conversation with Bella Bathurst: Sound

In 1997, Bella Bathurst began to go deaf. Within a few months, she'd lost half of her hearing, and the rest was slipping away. She wasn’t just missing the punchlines, she was missing most of the conversation – and all the jokes. For the next 12 years, deafness shaped her life, until, in 2009, everything changed again.  

Sound draws on this extraordinary experience, exploring what it is like to lose your hearing and – as Bella eventually did – to get it back, and what that teaches you about listening and silence, music and noise. She investigates the science behind deafness, hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers, sign language, and what Deaf people know about these subjects that hearing people do not.  

This smart, funny and profoundly honest examination reveals, our relationship with sound is both personal and far, far more complex than we might expect.  

Most of the time Bella Bathurst is a writer and photojournalist.  

Bella Bathurst

Dr Sally Austen is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with 27 years of working in deafness and mental health. Her specialist NHS work is currently with sign language users who have severe and complex mental health problems and features in the ‘Loss’ and ‘Sign’ chapters of Bella Bathurst’s, Sound. 

Dr. Sally Austen

BSL interpreted, Sunday 10 June 4pm. Interpreter: Lianne Lusty