This week, Platform has published Reem Khorshid’s essay on how she has experienced soundscapes in Cairo:
In “Experiencing the Sounds and Silences of Cairo,” Khorshid writes about navigating the city as her hearing disappeared, through hearing aids, and again after cochlear implants:
My experience of the city has changed. My sonic memory of it is closely interlaced with an optical one, where I could only “hear” what was visible and tactile. With the earlier hearing aids, Cairo was a pandemonium—a sonic mish-mash of whirs, clanks, screeches and blares that echoed the city’s calls for help against the demolishment of modern heritage and urban disintegration.
When the sound processor of my cochlear implant is switched on, I feel like I hardly know this place. I fail at all attempts to conjure the old sounds of my hometown as my brain now perceives them in a different way. The pitches, the frequencies, the tones, and the ranges now have offbeat qualities that have taken over the sounds of the past.
And yet these additional frequencies also erase what she held before: “To be hearing my hometown differently for the first time, almost feels like a loss. The Cairo of my childhood is a place of no return.”