If only they could see this invisible cocoon in which I feel enfurled,
which passes only subdued, muffled sounds,
and severs this human spirit from the world.
Outside I see a wonderful, lucid land of greens and blues,
bright sunshine, and then cloud-changed moods.
People seem to hear twice as much as they are told,
and when the understanding is all absorbed,
they don’t hang on to the words like they were made of gold.
Instead they react like only the lesser half were said,
and mirror its tone as their escalating returns unfold.
The source of cameraderie? Root cause of fashion?
Are people connecting in ways I can’t see?
I see fluent discourse, which then breaks and turns incongruent;
conversation seems to flow and peak, and then crash and beach,
then where does all the meaning go?
I only catch some superlatives and syllables washed astray,
but fail to find the floating verbs and nouns spoken casually,
as if familiarity alone should illuminate their play.
I see written words: black and white.
Their message is clear, unambiguous, stark and rich and subtle,
elegantly rude and stubbornly contrite.
Inside my mind, thoughts and ideas shout out really loud,
crisp and firm, clear and bright, one dimensional and flat,
and cover any input from my ears, like a shroud.
They shout in the timbre of my own voice,
only much more resonant and right, and bully all other sound away.
They shout above even the rattling of the wind,
the crash of falling water, the rumble of a car.
The voice that leaves my head reverberates from the dull,
transparent sarcophagus I carry,
and itself acts to flood my ears and rend other sounds unallowed,
leaving me to deal in broken walkie-talkie communications
through a double-glazed window on the world.
My head is full of the echoes of my name: Dale!
Of memories of all the times it was hollered for my attention,
always loaded with angst, stress and sometimes the anger that actually was.
Amidst this noisy turmoil I have to find space to sleep,
space to ponder the nuances of barely construed sounds,
and to sieve, sculpt and infill the knowledge before commiting to the keep.
To make the effort to create this order within the chaos,
serves only to disregard more the noise that comes in from the outside deep.
And yet it is the disconnection that provides the calm inside the storm,
the space I can call my own,
the separated shed where time extends indefinitely,
and I need follow no one else’s form.
The inside-outside contrast extends to my perceived influence:
tentatively there, but broken and ambiguous,
loud but by remote proxy and without first-hand effect.
And so the bubble is complete; I live in a world in a world.
And the only ones who are able to step inside,
are the ones who can see the barrier there in the first place:
All of my hard of hearing friends.
Dale Mellor. Summer, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 Dale Mellor
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If you would like to talk to other hearing aid users about any aspect of coping with deafness, consider visiting The Deaf Village at http://tribalvillages.org/deaf. There you will meet a friendly bunch of people who will be more than happy to share their experiences with you.