When My Ears Go Dark

It’s that time of the day.

My hearing devices have done their duty – and I’m done with them.

They need a break to recharge from their job of amplifying the world, of trying to make sense of words, of trying to identify the multiple swishhh-sounds that could be anything from a fan to the dishwasher or a passing car.

And my brain needs a break from them and the barrage of sound they draw in.

It could be at the end of the day, bedtime, midday, or when the work is done and my brain needs – just anything but sound.

When they come off – gently removed or pulled off in frustration,

My ears go dark, and my eyes alight. Because until I lower my lids, vision becomes my source of information, with no help from sound.

My eyes read captions, printed words, my husband’s lips. They take meaning from my cat’s tail moving.

It’s peaceful for some people, this cessation of sound.

Except, for me, sound never stops. I no longer remember or can even imagine what it’s like to have the sound stop.

When my ears go dark, an inner world lights up.

For tinnitus-people, inner sounds are sparked by the outer silence, roaring into action, uninhibited by sound from ‘out there’.

When my ears go dark and head noise fires up, I must find sleep or engage my mind with a book, nature, Netflix.

But first, I must acknowledge the sounds in my head which are varied and unrelenting. Whooshing, shooshing, purring, rumbling, roaring up mountains and crashing down the other side, getting louder, louder, louder.

I meditate to accept my “T” as part of me – and not as a noisy cancer that can force me to my knees. It’s real and I deal with it –

When my ears go dark.

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. Hi Gail, I’m still writing everyday. You were instrumental in publishing many of my articles on hearing a few years back. As an old school audiologist, I am interested in research on human auditory perception as it relates to the mechanics of human awareness, consciousness, perception, and even our locally perceived reality. Since my retirement in 2004, I’ve spent the last eighteen years in an autodidactic search of how quantum physics plays into our human perception. It’s the audiology of the future, and it will rehabilitate, abate and ameliorate when ears go dark!

  2. If everyone an the world would read the above maybe they would understand better the world that the deaf and hearing impaired person feels. As a person who an one ear wears a hearing aid and the other ear a cohlear implant you described so well how I feel when I take off my hearing aid and implant. I would be interested to know where I can read more things that you have written. Keep up the outstanding job.

    1. Hello Claire! You can follow me on this site (I’ve been writing for the past 11 years, but that’s a lot of back-scrolling. I have written two books: my first one is part memoir, part survival guide called “The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss”. The second was just published, and written with Shari Eberts, called “Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss”. I recommend both. Thank you for the kind words!

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