I am Shanna Groves, but you can call me Lipreading Mom.
Twenty years ago, I had my first child. While cuddling, burping and kissing on my baby, my ears rang like crazy.
No problem, the doctor told me while I strained to hear him. You’re just going deaf. You need hearing aids.
That’s not exactly what he told me. The doctor used the term progressive hearing loss. Same thing as going deaf.
I walked out of that medical office with my head spinning. No way in heck I was going to wear hearing aids.
Me. 27 years old (at the time). Fresh off of maternity leave. A new job. My hair cut as short as singer Chynna Phillips from her Wilson Phillips’ days. Not a flattering haircut with behind-the-ear hearing aids that plugged into my visible ears like electrical cords.
I DON’T ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT DOCTORS TELL ME.
Hearing aid wearing mom? Not me, no way. Back then, I’d rather have dyed my hair purple with pink polka dot highlights than worn chunky electronics in my ears.
I blew that doctor off.
Two years later, my son was old enough to talk. A lot. I had every reason to hide my ears from him. I couldn’t understand a word he said unless it was at piercing scream-level pitch. No more cooing and cuddling for us. It was Hard of Hearing Mom versus Screaming Child.
I went back to the doctor.
You still have those hearing aids, I asked him. ‘Cause I need them more than ever now.
That day, I finally accepted my hearing loss.
Now that I have three children ages 13, 16, and 20, communication depends on my acceptance. I must remind my kids to look at me so I can lipread them, speak up and repeat their words slowly.
I am a Lipreading Mom, not just Mom or a Lipreader. Both aspects must find a way to live together.
Come along on the ride with me.