By Giovanni Graziano
This article is part of My Plan Manager’s guest blogger series.
It’s quiet. It always is without my hearing aids.
Apparently its always been that way. A genetic defect that was bestowed to me at birth. “I’m not deaf, just hearing impaired” I explain as I pull out my hearing aids to demonstrate, clearly able to hear without them in.
I suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. Some sounds are completely inaudible, even with my hearing aids. Those high-pitched ringing sounds in movies when a character has been in close proximity to an explosion, the bright white flash on screen, the slow-motion dazed movement of the character; those scenes are completely silent to me. And I only found out the other day; there is in-fact audio to those scenes.
I was in reception when I was first pulled out of class early to go to countless doctors’ appointments and hearing specialists. So many recesses and lunches I had to miss, I never met Harold the giraffe.
I remember being embarrassed by my hearing aids. I used to fantasise about the things I’d do to them after I finished school for good. Lock them up in a box, with a big heavy chain and throw them as far out into the ocean as I could while standing from the shore.
As time went on, my hearing aids got smaller and more discreet. I felt more comfortable and took control of the narrative. I remember telling my friends I could listen to the radio with them in school. They got so small that eventually, I was the one who had to tell people—much to their confusion—instead of being asked: “what’s in your ears?”.
My experience hasn’t been without its hiccups. Listening to music is something I’ve had to sacrifice for most of my life. I’ve never been able to wear headphones, let alone earphones. To this day I can’t recite lyrics no matter how many times I’ve heard a song. Mostly I just hear sounds, feel waves, and catch vibes; lyrics are secondary to my listening experience. The only time I could listen to music was at home, playing songs through my laptop speaker, much to the detriment of the audio quality. As I got older, I started to realise there’s more to music than just sounds and of course that changed everything, but my ability to recite songs was long gone. I believe it’s a phenomenon exclusive to those with hearing disabilities and would love to know if anyone else can relate.
At 21 years of age, I’ve come to love my hearings aids, and I’m dependent on them. They’re the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off at night.
Giovanni Graziano is an enthusiastic and passionate marketing graduate whose first job at Subway led to the realisation that there are two types of people in this world: those that have worked in fast food, and those that have not. Fuelled by a desire to work in the advertising industry, his interests include fast-moving consumer goods and cinema. Giovanni has been hearing impaired from birth.