I confess that I pretend to hear everything my kids say even when they’re calling each other “stupid” and I don’t know it.
I confess I laugh before a joke’s punch line, not because of a warped sense of humor, but because I didn’t catch the joke’s first sentence.
I confess that I am unable to hear my telephone ring without my hearing aids in.
I confess that I don’t understand most dialogue on TV without the closed captioned turned on.
I confess that I get irked when the closed captioning isn’t working is turned off.
I confess that most people I haven’t seen in years are shocked when I tell them I have to read lips to “hear” them.
I confess that my older two kids usually act as my ears in the following situations: when a person asks me a question and I don’t respond; when someone knocks softly at my door and I don’t answer it; when the phone rings and I’m not wearing my hearing aids; when my youngest child wakes from his nap upstairs and is crying at the top of his lungs; when anything in the house beeps.
I confess that I have learned to accept my limitations. I will never be successful in making a phone call without some sort of special accommodations (i.e., using a loud-volume phone or speaker phone; asking the person on the other line to repeat themselves 2-5 times).
I confess that being a hard of hearing mom is not my choice. In fact, it can make me downright cranky.
I confess that being a hard of hearing mom makes me smile sometimes, especially when my kids are squealing, whining, moaning, or acting like brats.
I confess that being a hard of hearing mom has changed me. I’m not as quick to judge others who are different than me.
I confess I’m not as impatient as I used to be. I don’t get as frustrated with having to repeat things to a store cashier, to wait in a long line, or drive in rush-hour traffic.
I confess that being a hard of hearing mom has changed me. And I like how I’ve changed.
SHOW ME YOUR EARS
Now that you know my confessions, can I ask YOU a favor?
Please support my awareness campaign Show Me Your Ears: To Promote Deaf and Hearing Loss Community Awareness.
The idea is simple:
1) Take a picture of your ears, hearing aids, and/or cochlear implants. Even if you don’t wear anything in your ears, take a picture.
2) Email your photo to Lipreading Mom at sgrovesuss (at) msn (dot) com. Include the subject line: Show Me Your Ears. Include your first name, name of your hearing aids or cochlear implant product (if applicable), and how long you have worn them.
3) Watch my blog, LipreadingMom.com, in the coming weeks. Your photo may be featured!
I have blogged extensively about my progressive hearing loss on this site and my initial reluctance to wear hearing aids or show them off to anyone. I was afraid of what people would think about them. Would they think I was unable to communicate with them? Would they ignore me?
Finally, I made a decision: I am going to embrace my hearing loss. I’m going to show my hearing aids to the world. And so I do!
Will you help me to embrace that—hearing loss or not—all ears are unique, beautiful, special?
Hard of hearing or not, I confess that showing my ears to the world has been liberating. Will you join me in this campaign?
About the Author
Shanna Groves has been a hard of hearing mom since 2001. She is the author of the novel Lip Reader and writes extensively about hearing loss issues at http://LipreadingMom.com.