Seen, But Not Heard

Normal hearing children that grow up with a hard of hearing (HOH) parent naturally adapt to the parent’s hearing loss; from an early age, both of my children muted the television, turned off music, and made sure I could see their lips before they attempted to speak to me. Sometimes I felt just a little bad that “talking to mommy” required more work than talking to other people.


But that was BEFORE Super Hearing Boy (SHB) became a teenager.


SHB gradually came into the realization that he could take advantage of my lipreading ability and USE IT AGAINST ME. And do it in a subtle, sneaky manner… and make me look like I’ve gone berserk! How is this possible?


I’m at the piano, rehearsing with the band at church after potluck, and glance over at SHB. He’s staring at me, trying to get my attention without any of the guys noticing. The instant I look at him, he starts moving his lips without making a sound. The sight of his moving lips puts me in an almost hypnotic trance and I’m compelled to lipread until his lips are still. I shake my head to indicate “no” and his lips move again. Finally, I stop playing, and say firmly, “No, I am NOT going to drive you home now and come back here to finish rehearsing! Just sit tight for another half hour and stop arguing with me!”


The guitarists and drummer are silenced by my outburst.


Guess who looks like a raving lunatic and who looks calm and composed?













  1. M Said:

    I’m always humored by your stories, then laugh at myself when i see that we do the same things. My friends have learned that if I’m standing behind them, next to them, or too far away from them, I can’t lip read. One of my friends and i were having a lipped conversation during spanish, and she kept prompting me through finger-spelling and lipping the words to tell her who i liked. i’d finger-spell back to her that No, i wasn’t going to tell her, and if I did, i’d tell her during lunch. All of a sudden, i yelled “I am not telling you who i like!” needless to say, the class was stunned. Of course, today that same friend came and sat between someone i was having a convo with at lunch, and needless to say, i was not happy. Sometimes i wonder what it’ll be like when i grow up and have a family. Whether they’ll understand me, what my hearing will be like by then, whether i’ll have converted to all sign by then. I also end up signing or lipping to my mom while she’s on the phone, asking her who she’s talking to or telling her i can’t find my easylink charge cord. Ah, to be hearing impaired. The secrets you learn when you can lip-read.

  2. Hoh Said:

    Hi M!

    From my blog I’ve discovered that we hard of hearing people do a lot of the same things to cope with and adjust to our hearing loss, but it seems we don’t usually discuss it with others – but that has changed with the introduction of the blogosphere!


  3. M Said:

    There are few hearing impaired kids in my school, mostly with CI’s, but none of them are close friends. All but one are younger, and the other kid and i don’t talk to each other. Outside of them, i have no hearing impaired friends, and when i try to explain the lip-reading, signing, or any other element of our culture, my friends just laugh at me. Oh did you ever have trouble when speaking with groups? I have 2 hearing aids (1 working right now) and an easylinks, but at lunch, i sit at the end of the lunch table, and pretty much no one talks to me. Sometimes i make my friend repeat everything for me, but she’s impatient. Any tips for talking at groups in a very loud (cafeteria) enviroment?

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  4. Hoh Said:

    Sorry, I can’t offer any tips for understanding speech in a noisy environment – I have a really difficult time in that type of situation, too. The best solution is to take your friend to a quiet location, far away from the background chatter – that’s what I always try to do! And if that’s not possible, have him/her write what you don’t understand.


  5. Abbie Said:

    The older they get, the more cunning they became. :)

  6. Waterfall Said:

    Hi! I just found your blog and hope you haven’t stopped blogging. I am also a musician (amateur pianist) with severe hearing loss. I wear one hearing aid in my “good” ear but can’t wear one in the other one due to hyperacusis (or recruitment …). I haven’t had a hearing aid for the last couple of years because it broke and I couldn’t afford another one, but I’m finally going to be getting a new one in a few weeks. Yay! I look forward to reading your blog, as I consider Beethoven a bit of a soulmate. :)

  7. Intersting!

  8. Interesting I mean! LOL Very eye opening.

  9. Waterfall Said:

    Hi Cindy! Thanks for the info about Vocational Rehab Services. I will check it out. I posted my hearing test results on my blog–I have the same “ski slope” for my right ear that you seem to have!

  10. Waterfall Said:

    Oops, I meant my left ear!

  11. Laurie in TN Said:

    Been there, done that! More than once! Especially in church, too.

    Your stories are delightful! Keep writing!

  12. Hi Cindy,
    I tagged you at my blog!

  13. rose Said:

    June 17, 2008 Very interesting!

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