Does It Matter? Losing Your Hearing?

How do I feel about my hearing loss? I accept it, I live with it, but there are days, now and then, of struggles. How do others view hearing loss – in general, and mine in particular?

Does it matter?

Some years ago, I read the stunning poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, a World War 1 English poet.  In 1917, already a veteran of the horrific European battlefields, he wrote one of the most famous and searing war poems ever written, Does It Matter?, which challenged the attitudes towards war and disability at the time. The poem inspired me and I pay my respects to it with my poem below.

In my life with hearing loss, I find that 99% of the people I’ve met are not irritated by the actions I’ve asked from them, such as speaking up, facing me. These days, hearing loss is out of the closet – everyone knows someone who has it. But there’s always that 1% who show their annoyance, but that says more about them, not me.  Acceptance of hearing loss is a journey – and often a private one.

 

Does It Matter? Losing Your Hearing?

by Gael Hannan

 

Does it matter? – losing your hearing?

For people will always be nice.

When asked to speak up, they’re happy

To shout louder, but for just one sentence.

Then lower it back for the next.

 

Does it matter? – not understanding?

People don’t mind repeating their words

Unless they forget what they’ve said

Or they’re tired, grumpy or stressed

Then they’ll say, “oh just never mind”.

 

Does it matter? – wearing an aid?

Most people are quick to admire:

“It hardly shows at all, and the color

Is great because it blends with your hair.”

(But they think, “I’m glad it’s not me.”)

 

Does it matter? – not following along?

As the conversation spirals away?

It’s hard to say hey, what did you say?

But as they back up the dialogue,

They let only a bit of eye-rolling show.

 

Does it matter? – losing your hearing?

Yes it does – but mostly to me.

 Am I patient with people whose memory

Is failing, or those complaining of pain?

We all have a thing, and mine is hearing.

But still – it matters to me.

 

 

 

 

 

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, 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.

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