Sitting Here, Deaf (Waiting for My Hearing Aids)

The hearing care professionals laugh at us.

We’re the people who put off doing anything about our hearing loss for years.  Yet, once we have our hearing aids or cochlear implants, we can’t go without them for even a moment.

Last week, I spent three interminable hours while my hearing aids were ‘being looked at’.


Sitting Here, Deaf


I’m sitting here, quietly and deaf

Waiting for my hearing aids to come back.

They are being examined, possibly repaired

By technicians who may not know

They have my life in their hands.

This may be the twentieth set

They’ve worked on today

Under their magnifiers and lights,

Looking for what’s wrong and

What might be fixed.

But really, do they know

They’re poking at my insides,

Dissecting organs of communication

That connect me to the world?

I’m waiting here, nervous and deaf

In a temporary vacuum, void of sound

I clear my throat, but cannot hear it.

I’m worried –

Is there something seriously wrong

And if it can be fixed,

Things will sound so different and loud

That I’ll startle at car horns

And cringe at the cat’s howl.

I’m pacing, anxious and deaf

Half cursing my dependency

On these two bits of digital technology.

I feel as if I’m separated from my children

Unable to focus on anything but them,

Worrying and wondering how the technicians are doing…

Perhaps joking with colleagues?

But hopefully focused and intent, because

Surely they’ve been trained and sensitized

To know that what they’re working with

Goes beyond a fusion of wires and plastic and chips –

These are creations of human genius

An eloquent expression of our ability to make

Something from nothing – to create communication out of silence.

Do they know that?

I hope so but I won’t know so

Until she comes back with my ear-babies and says,

“Here, try them now.”

I’ll put them in and start the ritual

That tells me how they’re working.

I clear my throat – once for sound, twice for assurance –

My voice will rise and fall, whisper and boom –

As I test myself with a fragment of nursery rhyme.

 Mary had a little lamb,

              Lamb, lamb, LITTLE LAMB!

                  Mary, mary, MARY, mary…


Then I’ll know that I can hear, and maybe  hear well…

But whatever happens, whatever the verdict,

I hope she brings them back soon

To where I’m sitting and waiting –

Deaf, quiet and anxious.

–      Gael Hannan 2014 


About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.


  1. I can relate, so very well. Thank you for putting it out there so others may understand what it is we go through. I feel slightly similar feelings when my glasses are being cleaned/adjusted, because I’ve worn them since I was two – but nothing closes me out of the world like when my HAs are out.

  2. Gael I love it when you publish your poetry. I do deal with this quite often with my patients and try to help keep the time they are away from their instruments. Some of the things I encourage is keeping older sets up and running so my patients have back ups. We also have a loaner program, which I admit is easier when people wear behind the ear hearing aids of any kind, but we make due. My patients do appreciate us keeping their spares, no matter what the age, up and running though. We also have bone anchor processors we can loan out. The CI companies have been coming though very quickly for us with parts, usually the next day. Just food for thought.

  3. Once you have hearing aids that are properly fitted you do miss them even for a New York minute. The problem is encouraging people to try them out when they are losing their hearing.

  4. “I clear my throat, but cannot hear it.”

    That one really touched me! (And I sometimes bemoan that *I* have problems!)

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