The Space Between Hearing and Loss

There’s a space between a hearing person and me.

An expanse that changes shape and size as it

Fills with the sounds and meanings of spoken language.


To the hearing people, this space is invisible.

They don’t even know it exists,

As they converse easily, crisply, back-and-forth.


But the people with hearing loss, we know something different.

Noise and meaning are fractured in this sometimes painful space

Containing half sounds with

   Blurry edges

   Hollow middles

Or even nothingness—as if the sound never happened.


We work hard to understand, but often

Get things wrong and must ask for them to be repeated, again.


This is the space between hearing and loss. 

And we can conquer it.


Some of us will say, “I never had good hearing, so how can I have lost it?”

And some of us say, “Hearing has slowly dripped away” or

“It left so fast I didn’t have time to say goodbye.”


That was then and this is now:

Let’s smooth the space between us and them.

Let’s use technology, develop skill at reading faces, and learn how to pull

Better communication from the people on the other side.


Communication is the glue that connects us.

Without it, we really would be islands, separate from each other.

And I don’t want that kind of space between a hearing person and me.


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. Thanks, Gael. Your articles are always helpful. I’ve had a cochlear implant (8 months ago), and in the last month or so, I have actually heard the birds singing or whistling — how great is that. I seem to have missed your Part #7 about service. Is it available in one of the HTTM newsletters I seemed to be missing from earlier in April 2017? Marian

  2. Gael,

    The last year in respect to my hearing has been a real bummer and even with some decent hearing aids I am still in the group who often cant just figure things out and often start to feel alone and sorry for myself. Your messages always help remind me that I am not alone in this situation and that I just have to keep positive and do everything possible not to make life for those around me more difficult as well.

    1. Oh Ron, I’m sorry you are going through that – but so glad that you are looking for positive support. Thanks for the kind words.

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