“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliott, Four Quartets
(HoH: slang for person with hearing loss, derived from hard of hearing)
People with hearing loss must work hard to make communication a positive, not negative, element of their lives. There are things we have to do: processes to put in place, environments to adjust and explanations to be made—sometimes over and over again. As a new year starts, we should try working smarter, not harder, on how we manage our hearing loss.
But such resolutions are personal. I can’t make yours for you, but from one HoH to another, I offer these words of hope that 2016 will be a year of enhanced understanding for anyone affected by hearing loss.
May your conversations be face to face, locked by eyes and lit by expressiveness.
May you have the courage to ask for the hearing access you need,
The patience to ask for it again
And the stamina to bear it when communication falters.
May you be the model of good speech—clear, well-paced and unobstructed by hands or food.
May the men in your life have upper lips void of hair
The women have voices pitched in the comfort zone
And small children understand why you have things in your ears.
May this be the year you seek hearing help if you need it
May your hearing technology be affordable,
And your hearing specialist be knowledgeable and helpful.
If you have tinnitus, may the head-roars soften and the ear-bells cease,
May you habituate to the sounds—or may they fade into the mist completely.
May you grasp, deeply, that there is no shame in hearing loss
And that communication with people is as important a life force as
Air, water, food and love.
May 2016 be one of peace in your house, of harmony in your life,
Because this is a year that you want to hear.