How I REALLY Feel (About My Hearing Devices)

I have written in glowing terms about my hearing aids and sound processors.

How they lift me from a place of missed words, undecipherable sounds, and misplaced meanings.

How they alert me to movement and action. How they connect me to people.

I love my devices; I respect and even revere them.

Except when sometimes, somehow, they go off the rails, dragging me with them. My hearing and comprehension are once again spotty, compromised, anxiety-inducing.

There was a time when my only worry was a dead battery – was it just a drained battery, or had I gone deaf? A fear quickly dispelled when a fresh battery brought my device to life again.

Now, the technology is amazing with all kinds of connectivity. But there are more components that can, occassionally, make that connectivity jittery. Understanding how they work is one thing. Software programs updates and other ‘things’ that can temporarily shut down or compromise smartphone apps are another.

But then I remind myself, there’s always a fix. Always helpful advice from my hearing loss community and my hearing care professionals. I just have to calm down and ask.

And remember how much my devices have given me, how I once wrote this.


Ode To An Aid


You’re lying on my bedside table and before I fall asleep

I’m looking at you closely for the first time in a long time.

I’m thinking about how much, to my surprise, I love you—and why.

Well, it’s not because of your looks.

One square inch of plastic and wires,

Your colour referred to professionally as flesh tone

     By people without imagination as beige

And by me, in all honesty, as ugly.

For such a small creature, you have a lot of orifices,

Openings that suck sound in one end and belch it out the other.

Out of the biggest opening comes a plastic wheel-well

That clasps a fresh battery and disappears with it inside,

And you chime your delight, immediately changing

From a lifeless lump of plastic

To a life-changing spark plug.

You know what they say about beauty –

It’s what’s inside that counts, and I guess that’s true about you. 

But I don’t really want to see your inner machinery

Because I’d be disappointed not to see tiny hearing elves

Making magic happen.

I do love you.

For all the times I’ve cursed you, dropped you, and lost you,

I’m sorry.

I have expected more from you than you can deliver,

Because you cannot be a perfect hearing system. Not yet.

And I have not thanked you when you delivered more than

I ever expected, giving me sounds that my memory had forgotten

And new ones that did not exist before my hearing left,

Like the sound of my own baby breathing.

No, you’re not pretty. 

You’re high maintenance.

You cost money.

But if I didn’t have you, I would be heartbroken and

Isolated, cut off from my people.

So no, you’re not pretty—you’re beautiful

And I love you,

Good night.

And THAT is how I REALLY feel about my devices!


Note: See my article, When Your Child’s Journey Continues After Leaving Home this week on HHTM’s Hearing and Kids. 

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. Always enjoy your articles Gael…having severe hearing loss makes me appreciate your comments that much more! They’re not perfect but thank goodness for them! Please keep writing!

  2. Your poem so beautifully written that there were lines I never even thought about that I contemplated some. You inspire me still to focus on telling my story.
    You may not remember me. A few weeks back we had a conversation via FB and your book: The Way I Hear It, I ordered shortly after our convo and it arrived today!

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