At Night, When I am Deaf

At the end of a long, noisy day

Some people remove their hearing aids

Or sound processors

For some quiet time, some peace

Before going to bed.


These are the moments of ahhh……


For others, removing their technology

And moving about, soundless

Makes them feel uncomfortable, disconnected,

Floating in a world of cotton batten.

Footsteps are silent

Light switches don’t click

Words seen on the lips of others,

Carry no vibrations.

These people prefer sound over silence.


But for me, there is always sound

Whether I wear my technology

Or remove it.


In the morning, shortly after rising

I put on my hearing aid and sound processor

Which feed me sounds

All day, all evening,

Right up to the moment,

Before I turn out the light,

When I remove them, bidding them goodnight.


Then it is dark,

And I am deaf –

To the external sounds but

The internal whooshes, roars and hums

Of tinnitus become louder,

Having no competition

From real sounds.


Sleep comes, sooner or later.

In my dreams, I don’t have hearing loss

And even better, there is no tinnitus.

One day, perhaps,

The head sounds will be gone 24/7.


But for now, it’s only at night,

When I am deaf and in a dream world

That sound originates where it’s supposed to:

Outside, not inside, my head.


For now, in the morning,

As my sleeping brain

Swims back to consciousness

A new day of inner-and-outer sound

Starts again.

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a sought-after speaker for her humorous and insightful performances about hearing loss. Unheard Voices and EarRage! are ground-breaking solo shows that illuminate the profound impact of hearing loss on a person’s life and relationships, and which Gael has presented to appreciative audiences around Canada, the United States and New Zealand. A DVD/video version of Unheard Voices is now available. She has received awards for her work, including the Consumer Advocacy Award from the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Gael lives with her husband and son in Toronto.

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You do have a great visual smoke detector, don’t you? We’d hate to lose you .

Maria Lamberto

I’m looking fora great visual smoke detector. Have any recommendations?

Jaika Witana

I understand that you know very well that what you “hear” (tinnitus) is not sound. Although it might well seem to you like “sound” …

Gael Hannan

Thank you, Jaika, I’m glad you understand that. We use words as best as we can to convey our situation and emotions.