Advice From a Hard of Hearing Grandma

They say the best part of being a parent is becoming a grandparent. I’m sure that’s true for many people, but as a new grandma I’m still ironing out some of the kinks. (Note: Although my husband and I have only one 17-year-old child together, he is the father of four, one of whom made me an earlier-than-expected grandmother.  They call me GG, for Grandma Gael, and we don’t use the ‘step’ word.)

Actually, there’s really only one kink: with my severe hearing loss, I have trouble understanding my three year-old grandson, Gage. I can understand his younger brother perfectly – but then, Owen is only eight months old. Held close enough, I can hear any sound  from any body part that Owen makes, and his facial expressions are pretty basic.

But Gage – a gorgeous, intelligent, and kinetic being – doesn’t stay still long enough for me to successfully speechread him. We live half a continent apart and don’t speak often enough for that  smooth ‘customization’ process to take place that allows a person with hearing loss to learn and adapt to another person’s speech. So every time Gage and I connect, whether in person or in a live chat through Facetime on iPad, I start the speechreading process over again – IF he sits still long enough.

I know it will eventually work out, just as it did with my own son. When I was expecting Joel, I was nervous about how my hearing loss would affect my child and our relationship. But, like any new mom, I learned on the job and he doesn’t (yet) appear to be traumatized by our communication challenges. In fact, he’s one of the best speakers and communicators I know.

Read the full article