Hannah Corderman is trying to fill in the blanks in her world, but the blanks are growing bigger. She cannot always hear conversations, so she nods or smiles at what seem like appropriate moments, taking her cues from people around her. Picking out individual words can be hard even though doctors recently turned up the volume on her hearing aids. “There’s a lot missing from conversations—bits and pieces,” she says. “But I make it work. ”Making it work is becoming more difficult. Corderman has an inherited condition called Usher syndrome that is slowly but inexorably robbing her of two major senses. A genetic mutation is starving cells in both her inner ear and her retina of proteins needed to detect sound and light. On top of her hearing loss, her declining vision, which forced her to give up driving at night as a teenager, has recently worsened. Now, at the age of 24, she has blind spots that make it harder to see during the day, too. No current treatment can halt or slow the disease, so Corderman lives with the knowledge that in 10 years, maybe 20 if the deterioration is slow, she could be deaf and blind. To read more in Scientific American