My Favorite Post: If I Were a Hearing Person

As we close off the year, the Better Hearing Consumer and other Hearing Health Matters editors are posting our favorite and most popular posts. The following article is from November 2013, and remains one of the most personal pieces I’ve written. I hope you enjoy it.


If I Were a Hearing Person


When trying to remember a time of not having hearing loss, I can’t. That’s beyond the edges of remembering.  But I can dream…


If I were a hearing person….

I would wake in the morning, and immediately connect
With the sounds of house-life around me
Husband breathing, cats playing, cell phone vibrating
There would be no noiseless pause as I reach for the jar
Where my hearing aids have slept through the night
And then, once they’re in, even the silence has a sound.


If I were a hearing person….

I would not have to stand at the door of a party
Stomach clenched as I prepare for conversations
Saturated with the overwhelming din of the crowd
Not catching the names of strangers or the words of friends
I wouldn’t have to copy the smiles of others,
Which are the only things I can understand in this noise.


If I were a hearing person….

I would dine in a gorgeous, dimly lit place
With one romantic candle lighting the face of my handsome husband.
I would understand the server, and maybe order for both of us.
My husband might lean over and whisper in my ear
And I wouldn’t need to read his lips.


If I were a hearing person….

The captioning would be off, not covering up
The feet, the faces, the hands and the places
Because these are words I can hear and don’t have to see.
At the movies I would follow the action
And not poke my partner with “What did he say?”
Or maybe he’d ask me what a character just said,
And I would never say, “Sshh, I’ll tellya later.”


If I were a hearing person….

Talking on the phone would never have caused
A problem like the one on my very first job,
I answered the phone in the hospital clinic
And said, “Who is this, please – I’m sorry, it’s who?
Oh, I’m afraid Dr. Scott is not here, I’m sorry, he’s not.
What’s that you say? Oh, YOU’RE Dr. Scott!?


If I were a hearing person….

I would have heard my partner say, “Let’s get married”
Instead of seeing his soundless lips shape it.
What man proposes at 6 (in the morning!)
When she’s scarcely awake, with no hearing aids in?
He probably just considered it a practice
But I saw and said yes, before he could retract it!
(Don’t mess with a speechreader.)


If I were a hearing person,….

I wouldn’t wear hearing aids that start giving feedback
When you’re in a silent elevator ride with strangers
That wouldn’t cost some people 1 or 2 or 3 months’ salary and which need batteries that die on the one day your spares are in your other purse.


If I were a hearing person….

I would not have to fight for the right to access – so that I can see a movie, watch TV, understand a lecture, get an education, receive health care, sit on a jury, and do my job…just the same as all the hearing people.

And if I were a hearing person – I might wonder what it would be like to have hearing loss.

Am I asking too much from this dream-hearing-person?  In a dream, you’re allowed to be anything you want, and this is just an occasional dream – an escape from a bad hearing day.  

But I’m not a hearing person and really, that’s OK.

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. These are such deep and touching thoughts and every one is one that I have experienced in the past as a hearing aid user for over 35 years and now a recipient of cochlear implants bilaterally! Thanks for sharing such personal observations and ending with the positive thoughts that it is o.k. to be just as we are!

  2. right down the list, I’ve experienced all of these, Gael
    and, if I were a hearing person,
    I could walk along the boulevard with my friend,
    who is speaking to me as we move forward
    and I’m leaning towards her, trying to ‘read’ the words
    And ending up catching only a phrase or two, or not even
    that much.
    Nodding now and then, smiling when she does, all the while
    thinking: THIS is the best a hearing aid can do?
    Now it’s nightfall. I’m in my apartment, alone, the silence
    is … golden.

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