The Hearing Loss Battle Cry

This month, at least two countries are celebrating historic independence as nations. It was a full-on revolution for the United States and a bloodless document-signing for Canadians, but for both countries, it was a years-long march to the desired freedoms.

People with hearing loss also wage private wars with their disability—that can last a lifetime. Maybe a little more flag-waving would help.


It’s a conflict that doesn’t end.
This need to communicate and inability to hear.
We want freedom from the strain of
Frustrations that erupt in annoyance.
We want to keep up, not fall into the communication gutters.
We want independence from using others to be our ears.

And so, every day, we do our best—which is often stellar, sometimes less so,
To engage and communicate.
But, at day’s end, we are tired.
We put our hearing aids or cochlear implants aside
And sleep, resting up to hear another day.

And with the sun, we begin again.
Most days, reaching for the technology that turns on the world of sound
(And noise),
I remember to be grateful, because
I know that without this, and other supports,
Life would be different.
Without communication, we cannot connect
Without connection, we walk in isolation.

If I fight against my hearing loss, I will lose,
Because it will never go away.
But if I fight for better communication
I will win,
Because I can overcome the foes of my own
Fear, ignorance and fatigue.
I hear what I hear, but I have a toolkit
That drives me to better hearing and inclusion.

Don’t think of it as war, but as a continuing series
Of tiny communication skirmishes—
Some we win, some don’t go so well.
But we must salute ourselves, celebrating
Each victory over frustration, each boost in self-esteem.flag bllue

We can’t give up, because as someone once said,
The alternative is unthinkable.
So instead, with one hand raised to the sky and the other to our people.
We have to say:

World, talk with me and sing me your sounds.
Give me all you’ve got, World, because I’m listening.”

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 Comment

  1. Hearing loss is a constant struggle all the more so because it is not visible like a white cane, wheelchair or missing limbs. We naturally make allowances for these disabilities while my difficulties hearing are often met with impatience or even dismissal as if I were also senile. We need to be HEARD as well as to HEAR. There needs to be more respect for the hard of hearing and that will take a lot more than flag waving. Would that everyone would spend a week with their ears plugged up (without anyone knowing) doing their work, talking with people, shopping, talking on the telephone and al so shopping for an hearing aid $$$, etc. That would be an education!

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