Help! I can’t hear my kids!

Living with a hard of hearing (HOH) person can be frustrating. My two children have normal hearing, and like most normal hearing people, they don’t have to lipread. They can eavesdrop. They can hear in the dark. Most importantly, they can talk to someone in a DIFFERENT ROOM!

Normal hearing parents listen to their children while cooking, folding laundry, cleaning house, or taking a shower. HOH parents MUST drop what they’re doing and focus intently on their child’s lips. Imagine the power struggle that ensues when a HOH parent tries to finish a chore, and a normal hearing child fervently insists upon attention right now!

“MOM. LOOK AT ME!” my daughter shouted as she tugged on my skirt.

“Give me a minute. These veggie burgers are going to burn if I don’t get them out now.”


“Just a few more seconds!”


Repeat this scenario all day, every day, and multiply it year after year. It gets old, fast.

Or this:

Me: Do you want to go to the park today?

Kids: Mph.

Me: What?

Kids: Mph!

Me: What?


During one such scenario, my daughter had a meltdown. Tears streamed down her face and she collapsed on the floor. “I WISH YOU COULD HEAR ME!” she wailed.

“Sweetie, I’m sorry. I wish I could hear like you, but I can’t.” I said.

Inspiration hit a few minutes later. Bass sounds are easy for me to hear. Maybe my kids and I can come up with a simple code using low frequencies. This should work for questions that require a yes or no answer.

I called them for a meeting and we decided upon the following code:

One bark = yes

Two barks = no

Three barks = I don’t know

Three barks, REST, followed by two more barks = I don’t care

I’m happy to report that this code works well! If you stop by my place, you’ll hear my kids barking at me over the phone, in the same room, or *gasp* in a different room. Sometimes they accidentally bark in the grocery store, or some other public place. And they do it because they love me. Woof!


  1. I so much identify with this. My kids are always talking while I cook, dress, drive, etc. I too have to face them and read their lips and to hear them well. I just might try to implement your system. It helped alot knowing someone else has the same problem as me yet has found a solution.

  2. Hoh Said:

    If you try it, please let us know how it works for you.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Jay Griffin Said:

    My 11 month daughter is just starting to expand her verbal and non-verbal attention-getting repertoire. But she learned at 6 months that she could get attention by doing singular short coughs–kind of like saying “hey!”

    My loss is pretty severe and I depend heavily on speechreading for comprehension–but I can still hear the difference between a clearly spoken yes or no with my back turned. I’m sure we’ll develop our own code as she gets older especially since we are a bilingual family in addition to me being the only one with hearing loss.

  4. [...] she look like Snow White a little bit?  She inspired the “bark code” we use at [...]

  5. I loved reading this! My own kids know that if they want an answer to a question, they must look at me. My husband has yet to figure that out. If, however, the question is one that I am asking them (the kids), through their closed bedroom or bathroom door, we use a similar pattern of foot-to-floor thumps or door knocks to communicate answers.

  6. Hoh Said:

    Yes yes yes! Sometimes they will knock on the wall, the door, the table – whatever is handy!

    I’m thrilled to know other people do this — thanks for commenting!!


  7. charcoalsilhouette Said:

    If only the general public was so adapting! I’m in a family where both me and my dad are HI, yet he won’t admit to it, and I wear hearing aids. Sometimes, communication is impossible. Often, my mom ends up “translating” something that one of my brothers said, and she always has to scream it, embarassing in a public place. Sometimes its not something said to me, or an irrelevant joke, but I still want to hear what was said. I often get upset and feel like they just don’t get it. But I only have a moderate loss, enough that without the hearing aids, I can pretty much communicate, but even with them, everything is frustrating.

  8. Albert and Richard and I want you to tell everyone
    that we are going to make sure all events on televison
    in the near future will also have signers so no one
    is left out of the picture.

    Please email this to everyone including all whom
    are associated with Gauldette University.
    Check out the link for the website.
    There is also much online by doing an Internet search
    (Google) of Al Gore Jeff Fisher World Peace Forever
    I studied ASL at Northern Essex Community College in 1994.

    In 2006 I did some volunteer work at your campus. Not ASL.

    It was teaching how to write different languages.
    Helen Keller was very important to me as a child.

    I used to wear hearing aids but God my father cured me in 2006 at Dania Beach.
    He also cured me of epilepsy.

    I still have bad vision, bad teeth and once in while a bad case
    of very stinky gas. HEHE
    Please tell all that We never forget about anyone.

    I look forward to seeing many of you email me
    and also Albert and Mary Elizabeth.
    My address is
    Alberts is
    Tipper’s is

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