The First Time I Wore Hearing Aids

by Raymond Antrobus

Photo by Suki Dhanda

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title:  The First Time

Step 1

Say, “Discuss the first time you did something that, to you, was memorable, either positively or negatively or both. Why was this experience memorable? How did you feel while it was occurring?” Then discuss.

Step 2

Watch the poem “The First Time I Wore Hearing Aids” by Raymond Antrobus. When you’re done with the poem, briefly discuss the speaker’s response to this experience. How did he feel? Why?

Step 3

Say, “Think of the ways you felt the first time you experienced something. Try to come up with feelings that encompass all sides of the emotional spectrum, more than just simply “happy” or “sad.” Then try to come up with specific instances that exemplify these feelings.” Then give your students time to brainstorm.

Step 4

Have your students compose a poem similar in sentiment to “The First Time I Wore Hearing Aids” in which they express their feelings the “first time” they experienced something.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Watch the following scene from “The Sound of Metal.” For some context, in the movie, the main character, Ruben, is a drummer who loses his hearing. The movie explores his difficulties with his loss of hearing, and how he ultimately decides to surgically receive cochlear implants (devices that bypass the damaged portion of the inner ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve and provide the sensation of sound for those who are deaf or have profound hearing loss).

Watch the last scene of the movie. In the scene, Ruben walks the streets of Paris. Have your students pay attention to his complex reaction/response in the scene. Then discuss.

Step 3

Now read “The First Time I Wore Hearing Aids” by Raymond Antrobus. When you are done, ask your students to compare and contrast the two characters’ (from the movie and the poem) responses to their respective experiences.

Step 4

Have your students open the following document and go over the introduction and directions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to practice articulating their analyses by differentiating between what the characters of a poem do and what the poet does in their piece. Then give your students time to work.

Step 5

When your students are done, have them share their responses aloud with the rest of the class.

Step 6

If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Body / Body Image
  • Children / Youth
  • Community / Culture
  • Disability Themes
  • Education Formal / Informal
  • Health / Health Care / Illness
  • Joy

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone

Content Warning

  • Ableism