A HoH’s To-Do List

It’s Monday, the beginning of the week, and time to update my hearing loss To Do list. Because hearing losss is what I have as well as what I do, my list never changes much from week to weeknor does it ever quite get done.


  • Call the audiologist to book a hearing aid cleaning. It’s like getting your teeth cleaned—no one likes doing it, but whiter teeth or sparkly, crisp sound are worth it. At least hearing aid checkups don’t hurt. And while I’m there, I’ll ask—again—why there’s no information on hearing loss for hard of hearing (HoH) people to read as they wait. Just accessible phones for sale and offers of rewards if you get your friends to come in for a hearing test.


  • Check out Facebook to see what people in the hearing loss groups are saying. Usually there’s at least one person new to hearing loss who blows up a minefield by asking the universal question:  What should we call ourselves—deaf, hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, what? I try not to rise to the bait because it never ends well. My opinion is that people can call themselves anything they want, as long as they identify as something and explain their communication needs. But that’s not specific enough for those who like to use fighting words on social media.


  • Write the airlines about stranding me in Montreal last week. I’m not blaming them that St. John’s was snowed under, making it impossible to get there in time to deliver a talk to hard of hearing youth the next day. I’m not saying that the airline should have paid for the $200 hotel that I had to check into at midnight.  But I am cheesed off about the lack of notification when they actually cancelled the flight. No PA announcement. No staff rounding up the last pitiful group of travelers in the airport who had believed the signs that said the flight was leaving at 10pm.  I had been working on my computer, deaf to anything around me, until I a felt a chill which, when I looked up, turned out to be an empty waiting lounge. The flight had been quietly removed from the gate sign and the flight information board—and so I trudged down the hall to be the last in queue for re-booking help.


  • Check Twitter for any hot hearing loss news flashes. BREAKING NEWS—listening to loud noise for a long time will damage your hearing!! Have people been living under rocks that they didn’t know this? Also on Twitter: new hearing loss bloggers are popping up like daffodils. And this is a good thing, because it will help reach more of those people hiding under rocks.


  • Check LinkedIn to see what amazing new technology has audiologists hopping around on one foot. I don’t know why do I do this, because I seldom understand their tech-talk. When I need to replace my aids, my audiologist recommends one and one only. She’s never said: Gael, here’s information on the various technical benefits of 5 hearing aids, written in Danish. Pick the one you want.” And I’d be fine with the Danish because I wouldn’t understand it in English, either. I would pick the one that came with telecoil and Bluetooth, a three year supply of batteries, and in any color but beige.  All the other features are just gravy.


  • Change wax guards. Really. Today. Mustn’t wait until the battery dies because then I’d be in a rush to get hearing again and might forget to change the wax guards. Then I’d keep on forgetting until the hearing aids get plugged up like gum stuck in hair.


  • Think of a new way to say “pardon?” It’s boring spitting out the same word all the time. Maybe I’ll say it with a dazzling, bright smile—just to confuse people a bit. Why should I always be the one confused about what’s being said?  Don’t mean to be bitchy, but this is Monday, after all.


  • Consolidate all my battery packages. I realized that if I were to faint in, say, a shopping mall, do I really want a stranger searching for ID in my purse for ID to find six packages—each containing only one or two batteries? That’s the sign of a very unorganized HoH.


  • Do not bluff today, not once. Do not nod head in feigned agreement—instead, ask pardon with the dazzling smile. Life’s too precious to waste time pretending to hear and understand.


  • Try to swallow irritation when the Hearing Husband asks a question from the back of his head rather than his front. After all, 95% of the time he does ask the proper way: he calls me and waits for me to go running to where he is, so that I can read his lips.


  • At bedtime, before taking out my hearing aids and turning out the lights, remember to thank the heavens and the stars for the miracle of technology and the support of hearing care professionals—and other people with hearing loss.


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. Thank you, Gael! I wish more people would do you what you suggest. “At bedtime, before taking out my hearing aids and turning out the lights, remember to thank the heavens and the stars for the miracle of technology and the support of hearing care professionals—and other people with hearing loss.” I’ve been living with a progressively deteriorating hearing loss for 45 years. Every time my ears get worse, the technology gets better. I feel lucky to live in such a creative world.

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