Currently viewing Vol. 5 • Issue 5 • 2018

Does It Matter?

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The Way I Hear It

Gael Hannan (The Way I Hear It) is a hard of hearing advocate that understands both sides of the fence between the consumer and the hearing health care professional. Gael’s columns are humorous, sometimes cutting, but always constructive and to the point.


Some years ago, I read the stunning poetry of Siegfried Sassoon. In 1917, already a veteran of the horrific European battlefields, he penned 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.

100 years later, I’m using Sassoon’s questions as the inspiration to question attitudes towards hearing loss.

It’s easy for us to forget – I, as a seasoned hearing loss and you, the seasoned hearing health professionals – that each new person who develops hearing loss has walk the same road to acceptance, feeling the sting of lingering stigma and ignorance by those whose hearing is ‘normal’. Acceptance of hearing loss is a journey – and often a private one.

Does It Matter? Losing Your Hearing?

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.

This article appeared in slightly different form in HearingHealthMatters and is printed with permission.

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About the author

Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a hearing health advocate, author and speaker with profound hearing loss. She is proudly bimodal. Her second book, Hear & Beyond: How To Live Skillfully With Hearing Loss, written with Shari Eberts, is due out in May 2022.