Gail Hannan - Archive

Gael Hannan on Noisy Houses

March 26, 2014 in Community News

What’s That Noise in My House?

By  On 

Answer me this:  in one house, why do three TVs have to be on at the same time?  On the same station. With the sound on.  Loudly.

Right now, in our house, the answer would be that the race is on to the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs. My stepson plays for one of the teams, and, at this point, every game is important.So it’s crucial, you see, that no matter where they are in the house, my husband and son have instant access to either the game or breaking sports news. Otherwise they panic. Yes, theycould park their respective butts and watch the game all the way through, but we are a fluid family, constantly . . .

Read More. . .

Gael Hannan on If I Were a Hearing Person

November 21, 2013 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

If I Were a Hearing Person….

By Gael Hannan, 11/19/2013
See more of Gael’s eloquence at www.hearinghealthmatters.org

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.

 


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Gael Hannan on Movember: A Lipreader’s Hell

November 12, 2013 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

Movember: A Lipreader’s Hell

By Gael Hannan, Hearing Health Matters, 11/11/2013

I have some serious issues with mustaches.

First, I’m never quite sure how to spell it. Mustache is the American spelling; other English-speaking countries, including my own, spell it moustache. Then there’s mustachio, which sounds Italian but isn’t, and refers to an especially luxuriant growth of hair on the upper lip.

Second, I don’t know why mustaches are even there. They don’t keep a man’s face warm and they require upkeep, so I assume the mustache is simply one of the few forms of face decoration historically acceptable in a man. The odd thing is, if a man chooses to wear a full line of makeup from mascara to lipstick, I’m OK with that, because I understand wearing makeup.

Third, the different types of mustaches confuse me. Do particular styles have shades of meaning? Filmmakers often use mustaches to indicate a character’s political, sexual or career orientation. But the rules seem to have changed and one can no longer judge a man by his facial hair, or lack of it.

The fourth – and ultimate – issue I have with mustaches is that they can make speechreading hell for people with hearing loss.  If  hairs go even a smidgen over the edge of a masculine upper lip, my ability to understand the man’s speech is compromised. How well lips move or articulate speech movements or sounds is a crucial component in successful speechreading. But it’s not the only thing we look at; a speechreader also takes in a speaker’s eyes, teeth, jaw, facial expressions and body language when decoding a spoken message. (Is it any wonder that people with hearing loss get easily tired? Communicating is a lot of work.)

When November started a couple of weeks ago, I groaned, because several men in my life, including my son and husband, are supporting the Movember movement, a worldwide phenomenon originating in Australia. The vision of Movember is to “Have an Everlasting Impact on Men’s Health’, with a special emphasis on cancer and mental health issues. On October 31, participants do a final upper lip shave and the next day, they start some serious hair-growing. And they don’t do it for nothing.  While the best mustaches are published and universally admired, most men also use the event to raise money for either Movember’s designated charities or for a health-related organization of their choice.

Read more at: http://hearinghealthmatters.org/betterhearingconsumer/2013/movember-lipreaders-hell/


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.