Love Poem for My Hearing Aids

 

Sometimes I moan and groan about my hearing aids, but every once in a while I see them as they are: little technical gifts that take me from hearing almost nothing to being able to perceive the sounds of the world. Not perfectly, but well enough to be grateful.  

A couple of years ago, I wrote “Ode to an Aid” for HearingHealthMatters.org (HHTM), and recently I performed it as a spoken poem as part of a presentation to a hearing aid retailer conference.  

I’ve now been writing for HHTM for five years, and this poem, slightly revised from the original, is my anniversary gift to my readers.

 

You’re lying on my bedside table and before I fall asleep

I’m looking at you closely, for the first time in a long time

I’m thinking about how much, to my surprise, I love you

And why.

 

Well, it’s not because of your looks.

One square inch of plastic and wires,

Your color referred to professionally as flesh tone

     By people without imagination as beige

And by me, in all honesty, as ugly.

Your shape is a cross between an extracted tooth and a kidney bean

With a white beard that locks you into my ear

Your shiny surface reflects light, except where bits of wax

Nestle in your curves and creases, waiting to be wiped clean.

 

For such a small creature, you have a lot of holes,

Openings that suck sound in one end and belch it out the other

An air vent that keeps feedback to a minimum

Except when my ear canal widens when I brush my teeth,

Chew my food or laugh my head off. 

Out of the biggest opening comes a plastic wheel-well

That clasps a fresh battery and disappears with it inside,

And when you’re ready, you chime your delight and immediately transform

From a lifeless lump of plastic

To a life-changing spark plug.

 

You know what they say about beauty, don’t you?

It’s what’s inside that counts, and I guess that’s true about you. 

But I don’t really want to see your inner stuff

Because I’d be disappointed not to see tiny hearing elves

Making magic happen when that battery comes in.

 

Once I had a glimpse—

When I removed an aid from my ear to show a group of students

Half of it stuck stubbornly in my ear canal, and

Aghast, I held up the top half with its forlorn wires

Hanging naked and useless.

There was nothing to do but laugh, so we did.

 

I do love you, you know.

For all the times I’ve cursed you, dropped you, and lost you,

I’m sorry.

I have expected more from you than you can deliver,

Because you cannot be a perfect hearing system.

Not yet, anyway.

And I have not thanked you when you delivered more

Than I ever expected, giving me sounds that my memory had lost

And new ones that did not exist before my hearing left,

Like the sound of my baby breathing.

 

No, you’re not pretty. 

You’re high maintenance.

You cost money.

But if I didn’t have you, I would be isolated, cut off from my people.

So no, you’re not pretty—

You’re beautiful.

And I love you, good night.

 

Thank you for reading the Better Hearing Consumer at HearingHealthMatters. Here’s to another five years!

 

aids flower

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.

2 Comments

  1. Ode to an RIC

    How do I love thee?
    Let me count the ways
    I love thy setting for use in the car
    I can hear Diane Rehm get her guests on the ropes.
    Then Left, Right and Center renews my lost hopes.

    To be continued….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.