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
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.
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.”