A New Year’s Blessing for HoHs

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.



About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, 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. Happy New Year to you Gael, your blogs are great and positive! It sure keeps us hopeful and patient with educating the public with what we need to hear and communicate properly.

  2. Gael..all the best to you and the family for 2016, keep those columns coming and keep us up to date with all your latest adventures.

  3. A very Happy New Year to you and your family, keep the messages coming for those of us who struggle more than a bit at times with hearing loss issues as well as the joys of tinnitus. Also keep us informed with the latest family adventures.

  4. Those of us who work as advocates attempting to get compliance with ADA find that we must make repeat trips where non-conforming with the law becomes the default position over time. We also find we are continually trying to get national organizations to comply at numerous locations. Why can’t our national leadership approach the national leadership of these scofflaws to get national compliance.

    Please reply in the magazine.

    1. Hello Wes – I am not sure what magazine you are referring to. Perhaps your question on ADA compliance should be directed to whichever magazine you mean?

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