Like me, you are probably a more conscientious driver with precious cargo in the back seat. One of the most challenging parts of having a hearing loss, though, is attempting to lipread children while you drive.
Three things that have helped me as a lipreading mom behind the wheel:
1) Remind your kids that you can only have conversations with them when the car is stopped, either at a stoplight, intersection, or parking lot.
2) Install a larger, *flat* rearview mirror in your car so you can see your kids in the back seat.
3) Ask your audiologist about an FM (frequency modulated) system, which plugs into your hearing aids and has a microphone that can be hooked up close to your kids—so you can hear them more clearly while driving.
If you are a lipreading driver, know that you are not alone—Lipreading Mom is here to cheer you on. Post your lipreading in the car experiences here.
Great ideas! And for when the children get a little older (upper elementary, pre-teen, and teens), teach good (i.e., SAFE) headphone and ear bud use so that they can listen to their “tunes” when in the car. I never have the radio on when I have passengers in the car. Paying attention to conversations becomes impossible (even at stop lights) if the radio is competing. When alone I do love talk radio!
I also use flat baby mirrors with clips and suction cups to place around the car so that I can see better in the backseat, or even the front passenger seat.
I also taught the kids at a fairly young age that if I’m driving and they needed my attention, to not just say “Hey Mom” as they knew they’d have to raise their voice. Instead, they’d place a hand on my shoulder. Sometimes I’d say, “Hang on and I’ll get back to you when traffic is less hectic” or “Hey! Whatcha need?” (grin). That let them know that I either couldn’t concentrate on a convo NOW, or was tuned into them and could discuss something now.
Great post and wonderful tips/reminders!
Denise – Very good suggestions from you, as well. Does lipreading in the car get easier the older our kids are? 🙂
My most memorable “lip reading in the car” story was actually avoidance of same. When my son went off to college 2000 miles away several years ago, I drove him there and my mother wanted to fly out and drive back with me. My mother, even thirty years after my hearing loss was diagnosed, still doesn’t “get it;” She talks to me with her back turned, she talks to me with her hand over her mouth, she talks to me from another room. And, she MUMBLES terribly; even folks with perfect hearing comment on it. So, I declined her “offer,” knowing it would be an exhausting and frustrating drive, and to this day she still doesn’t understand.
Deb – I know what you mean. How about avoiding passengers who smoke, chew gum, or sip on beverages while traveling with you in the car? STRESSFUL!
As you know my situation is a litlle different, but I struggle with having to look in the backseat while driving to communicate with my kiddos. Great tips! Thank you!
Carrie – Good for you in learning how to accommodate your son’s hearing needs in the car. I hope that more folks who have loved ones with hearing loss follow your example.
Great ideas! Thanks for sharing this info.
Thank you, Peter!