Words for a Beautiful, Laughing Deaf Child

Giana is six years old and was born profoundly deaf.

She is an enchanting child – I can tell this only from her picture, however, because I’ve never met her. But her mother, Gina, says that this is pure Giana, a beautiful laughing girl, who is also deaf and who has been struggling in her early school years. 

Gina contacted me recently looking for some special help. She is involved in the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) in their Essex County chapter, which holds an annual fundraising event to support HLAA’s Walk4Hearing, which supports people with hearing loss. This year, Gina and her colleagues organized a successful masquerade ball with the theme of Don’t Hide Behind Your Hearing Loss, and Gina was looking for a poem to read that night.

She wrote to me:  

“We want people to accept their hearing loss. I don’t want Giana to be embarrassed, but to be proud. If someone says something she doesn’t understand, I want her to ask the person to repeat it, instead of pretending to hear.

She uses an Advanced Bionic cochlear implant and she uses sign language. Because Giana is still struggling to speak, she was transferred to a Total Communication school**.  She loves to swim and dance and is loved by many because of her personality.

I am looking for a poem to read at the masquerade ball to tell Giana that it’s OK that she is different – but also, for the people who are coming to know her, to better understand her hearing loss journey.

OK, wow, gulp. I didn’t have much time. A frantic search on the web didn’t turn up anything appropriate, so I decided to write something. Here is what Gina read to her daughter and the audience. (Note: Anyone looking for a polished, literary-quality poem is may be disappointed. It doesn’t matter – Giana liked it.)


Poem for Giana


Giana, I’ve never met you.

You are 6 and I am 60-ish.

We live thousands of miles apart.

    But what joins us in our hearts

         Is that we – you and me – are both deaf.


What words can I use,

To tell you, Beautiful Laughing Girl,

That being deaf

Makes you special in this world?


When I was six

I wish they’d told me that

Not being able to hear

Was OK and not bad


And I wish they’d said,

“We can help you hear

With hearing aids, CIs

And other technical gear.

But you, (Gael-Giana),

Because you will have to,

   You will try harder

     Listen better

       Look people in the eye

         And see things that hearing people can’t.


There will be many times

You’ll wish you weren’t deaf

But there will also be times

You’ll see deafness as a gift.”


So, Beautiful Laughing Girl –

Keep giggling and talking and signing

Because you’re that gift to us all.


** According to the Hands & Voices organization: Total Communication (TC) is a philosophy of educating children with hearing loss that incorporates all means of communication; formal signs, natural gestures, fingerspelling, body language, listening, lipreading and speech.  Children in TC programs typically wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.  



About Gael Hannan

The Better HearingConsumer addresses the personal experience of living with hearing loss. Editor Gael Hannan and her occasional guest bloggers explore every corner of the hearing loss life with humor and poignancy. Comment Policy   Gael Hannan, Editor Gael Hannan is an author, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog at the Better Hearing Consumer, which has a passionate international following,Gael has written two acclaimed books, “The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss”and “Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss”, written with Shari Eberts. 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 that advocates for individuals to become more knowledgeable and successful at dealing with their hearing loss and a more inclusive society for them to live in. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, Canada. Books and other media Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss. Written with Shari Eberts and available anywhere books are sold. The Way I Hear It: A Life With Hearing Loss. Available through online bookstores. Unheard Voices, DVD, vignettes from the hearing loss life. Contact Gael Hannan to order.


  1. I understand perfectly! I’m an Oral Deaf with profound hearing loss. What a lovely poem for any deaf persons. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I cannot thank you enough and i will read this poem to Giana over and over again every year until she understands the power of those words

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