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Gael Hannan on If I Were a Hearing Person

If I Were a Hearing Person….

By Gael Hannan, 11/19/2013
See more of Gael’s eloquence at

When trying to remember a time of not having hearing loss, I can’t. That’s beyond the edges of remembering.  But I can dream…

If I were a hearing person….

I would wake in the morning, and immediately connect
With the sounds of house-life around me
Husband breathing, cats playing, cell phone vibrating
There would be no noiseless pause as I reach for the jar
Where my hearing aids have slept through the night
And then, once they’re in, even the silence has a sound.
If I were a hearing person….

I would not have to stand at the door of a party
Stomach clenched as I prepare for conversations
Saturated with the overwhelming din of the crowd
Not catching the names of strangers or the words of friends
I wouldn’t have to copy the smiles of others,
Which are the only things I can understand in this noise.
If I were a hearing person….

I would dine in a gorgeous, dimly lit place
With one romantic candle lighting the face of my handsome husband.
I would understand the server, and maybe order for both of us.
My husband might lean over and whisper in my ear
And I wouldn’t need to read his lips.
If I were a hearing person….

The captioning would be off, not covering up
The feet, the faces, the hands and the places
Because these are words I can hear and don’t have to see.
At the movies I would follow the action
And not poke my partner with “What did he say?”
Or maybe he’d ask me what a character just said,
And I would never say, “Sshh, I’ll tellya later.”


If I were a hearing person….

Talking on the phone would never have caused
A problem like the one on my very first job,
I answered the phone in the hospital clinic
And said, “Who is this, please – I’m sorry, it’s who?
Oh, I’m afraid Dr. Scott is not here, I’m sorry, he’s not.
What’s that you say? Oh, YOU’RE Dr. Scott!?


If I were a hearing person….

I would have heard my partner say, “Let’s get married”
Instead of seeing his soundless lips shape it.
What man proposes at 6 (in the morning!)
When she’s scarcely awake, with no hearing aids in?
He probably just considered it a practice
But I saw and said yes, before he could retract it!
(Don’t mess with a speechreader.)

If I were a hearing person,….

I wouldn’t wear hearing aids that start giving feedback
When you’re in a silent elevator ride with strangers
That wouldn’t cost some people 1 or 2 or 3 months’ salary and which need batteries that die on the one day your spares are in your other purse.


If I were a hearing person….

I would not have to fight for the right to access – so that I can see a movie, watch TV, understand a lecture, get an education, receive health care, sit on a jury, and do my job…just the same as all the hearing people.

And if I were a hearing person – I might wonder what it would be like to have hearing loss.

Am I asking too much from this dream-hearing-person?  In a dream, you’re allowed to be anything you want, and this is just anoccasional dream – an escape from a bad hearing day.  But I’m not a hearing person and really, that’s OK.


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