Does It Matter?

Gael Hannan
May 23, 2023

How much does it matter – losing one’s hearing? That’s a silly question, unless we ask: who does it matter to?

It obviously matters to those of us who have it, because it colors and shapes almost everything we do. How we accept and deal with it is personal, a lifelong journey.

But does hearing loss matter to people who can hear? It only becomes important or an issue when they are touched by it in some way. And how they deal with it depends on how much they understand it.

In my experience, because I explain my needs, 99% of people are not irritated by requests to speak up, face me, please repeat that. But there’s always that 1% who show their annoyance, some in small ways and others who are less discreet. And how I respond to these people is part of my onoing hearing loss journey.

Some years ago, I read the stunning poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, a World War 1 English poet.  In 1917, already a veteran of the horrific European battlefields, he wrote one of the most famous and searing war poems ever written, Does It Matter?which challenged the attitudes towards war and disability at the time. The poem inspired me and I pay my respects to it with this poor poem.

Does It Matter? Losing Your Hearing?


Does it matter? – losing your hearing?

For people will always be nice.

When asked to speak up, they’re happy

To speak louder – for one sentence,

Then lower it back for the next.


Does it matter? – not understanding?

People don’t mind repeating,

Unless they forget what they’ve said

Or they’re tired, grumpy or stressed

Then they’ll say, “oh never mind”.


Does it matter? – wearing an aid?

Most people are quick to gush:

“It hardly shows at all, and the color

Is great with your hair.”

(And think, “I’m glad it’s not me.”)


Does it matter? – not following along?

As the conversation spirals away,

It’s hard to say hey, what did you say?

But they will kindly back up the dialogue,

Letting only a bit of eye-rolling show.


Does it matter? – losing your hearing?

Yes, it does – but mostly to me.

Am I patient with people whose memory

Is failing, or those complaining of pain?

We all have a thing, and mine is hearing.

It’s my journey and it matters to me.





  1. Wow. That is wonderful. Would you mind if I put that on Facebook and attribute it to you?

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