You’re at a restaurant or coffee shop. Your hearing aid, cochlear implant or other assititive listening device has fresh batteries. You’re in a prime lip reading spot: Your back is to the light, you’re facing your friend, you’re aware of the conversational topic. But try as you might, you just can’t understand your friend. You adjust your chair for a better view of her lips. You remove the centerpiece that partially blocks his face. Still, nothing. Sometimes, lip reading just doesn’t work. You can do everything right and still not understand the other person.
Our May speaker, Gael Hannan, understands this phenomenon all too well, and addresses it in her poem, “If I Could Move Your Lips For You,” as published in Hearing Health Matters:
If I could move your lips for you, I would.
We’ve been friends forever and I can read your emotions, easily.
But reading your words is tough because your lips don’t move,
Friendships with new people, wonderful people, have not flourished
Under the strain of communication, but
You are my friend – I want to keep talking with you forever.
So whose fault is it – yours, mine or ours –
When for the ten thousandth time
I must ask you to repeat yourself?
I sense your invisible eye-rolling and sighing.
Immediately, I’m both apologetic and resentful
– excerpted from “If I Could Move Your Lips For You,” by Gael Hannan. Click here to read the poem in its entirety. A special thanks to our friend and HLAA member Sarah Mosher for sharing this poem with us!
Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. We are excited for our upcoming seminar with Gael, who will be presenting on “The Masks of Hearing Loss: Bluffing 101.” Every person with hearing loss “bluffs,” pretending to understand what’s going on, even when they don’t. Some of us do it on occasion, while some of us move from one bluff moment to another! This amusing workshop looks at why and when we bluff, why we should or shouldn’t, and how we can ban the bluff in our lives.
We’ll be Skyping live with Gael on location on Saturday, May 5 at KU Edwards Campus, Regnier Hall, Room 153, 12600 Quivira Rd., Overland Park, KS 66213. CART (real-time captioning) will be provided by 20/20 Captioning.
Even if you have not yet RSVP’d, it is not too late to come! We’re excited to hear Gael speak and want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy her humorous and engaging presentation! Please come – and bring your friends! You can find more information about this event on our Facebook page or by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you there!