Sharing stories of loss and resilience helps us feel connected. They give us strength and teach us tricks to live better with our challenges. The most important thing is that they help us feel less alone. The story of Matt Hay, which he eloquently shares in his new book Soundtrack of silenceis not an exception.
I met Matt in the early days of the pandemic when we were together interviewed by Dave Kemp in the future ear podcast. Matt and I shared our stories of hearing loss, the ways the pandemic was affecting our ability to communicate, and the tricks we’d been using to cope. Matt’s optimism and positive attitude were already shining through.
Life comes with a soundtrack
Imagine knowing that you will gradually lose your hearing over time until you become completely deaf. A frightening prognosis, especially for a college student, even one who had battled gradual hearing loss since childhood. But Matt doesn’t just wait for the inevitable. He begins to plan the future, memorizing the music and lyrics of his favorite songs. He hopes to recreate them in his mind later when he can no longer enjoy them naturally. It seems to have worked. And in some ways, this process helped him learn to “listen” again, with the help of innovative technology.
In Soundtrack of silenceMatt tells his story punctuated with songs. Like many of us, he associates certain songs with significant moments in his life. Together they create a soundtrack, the key lyrics of which he shares with us throughout the book. You can enjoy your playlist on Spotify also. I’m listening as I write this review. There are some great songs on there!
The book is also a love poem to his wife Nora, who loves and supports Matt every step of his journey. Relationship goals for all of us where disability affects those closest to us almost as much as it affects ourselves.
My favorite line in the book
There are many wonderful lines in the book, but my favorite comes at the beginning, when Matt visits a new audiologist who helps him understand what’s happening to his hearing. After analyzing Matt’s experiences, the audiologist offers his recommendations. And then he asks: “Did I explain it to you well?” As Matt points out, “That last question turned out to be the most powerful, because it took the responsibility for misunderstandings away from me and my failing ears and onto him, the speaker.”
I wish all hearing care professionals followed this same protocol!
Other wonderful books about hearing loss
If you like reading books about hearing loss, give Matt Hay Soundtrack of silence a reading. I enjoyed it and I bet you will too. Or check out books on hearing loss like those listed below.
Hear and Beyond: Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss by Shari Eberts and Gael Hannan
Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills, and Resources to Live Better with Hearing Loss by Katherine Bouton
The way I hear it by Gael Hannan
Readers, what books on hearing loss do you recommend?
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