by Jonathan Moore, M.F.A.
All of my life I have dealt with being hard of hearing. Born with a hearing-impairment, I suffered a head injury when I was seventeen years old that made it worse. After that, my life was a blur of tests, doctors and finally, a seemingly endless parade of different types of hearing aids.
In my mid-50s now, I still deal with the impairment and all it entails. While I may qualify as having an “impairment” or disability, for me, it’s simply a way of life. I can’t imagine being any other way. Every part of not being able to hear well is normal for me. But normalcy includes some difficult days. Every day I experience the painful adjustment to a world that is not prepared for those like me. Society’s lack of education and knowledge about those who struggle to hear often make daily life a challenge.
During the pandemic, I endeavored to do some soul searching. The result was a decision to educate others on the trials and experiences of hearing-impairment. As a filmmaker, I had to make a film.
But the world was in lockdown due to Covid, so equipment access was limited and resources scarce. Undeterred, I dusted off an old video camera from the garage, charged my cell phone and made a micro-short, hybrid documentary/experimental film to give others a small slice of my life.
Utilizing images – albeit some of them ambiguous – I created a short piece, “Listening,” that reflects the struggle, isolation and personality of a hearing-impaired individual. The protagonist? Yours truly. The film tells a non-linear story with a range of emotions experienced on a daily basis by someone who can’t hear normally. The purpose of the film is to put the viewer in the shoes of the protagonist and to educate him/her.
The film was a success and was an official selection of more than twenty film festivals worldwide. I am immensely proud of the work and the message it conveys. It is only through things such as this that the public is alerted to those will physical barriers and disabilities – and how to help them.
The film can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/ghmV8SYhxfk