Dear Daughter – A Hearing Loss Poem

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What do you do when one of the people who is most important to you is also one of the people who is hardest for you to hear? You get frustrated, you cry, you fight, but you don’t give up. You keep working at it because it is so important. Maybe you express your sadness and desire for good communication in a poem. I hope you can feel the love I have for my daughter in every word.

Dear Daughter — A Hearing Loss Poem

Your voice is soft. You face away from me when you talk, distracted by something nearby. You cover your mouth with your hands. You speak rapidly and slur your words together. You laugh and talk at the same time. You cry and talk at the same time. It’s not your fault. You are a pre-teen girl. That is what they do.

But it is hard for me to hear you.

I do everything I can. I wear my hearing aids. I look at you to get clues from your face and lips. I remind you to speak up, to look at me, to speak slower. I remind you again. Sometimes I turn your face towards me. You don’t like that.

But it is hard for me to hear you.

Your father repeats what you say. Your brother repeats what you say. You repeat yourself once, twice. It starts off loud but gets quieter as the sentence goes on as if you forget along the way why you are repeating yourself.

But it is hard for me to hear you.

Should we write each other notes? Learn sign language? Pretend we are on the stage and enunciate? Get a megaphone? A special sound system? Not talk? No, not that.

But it is hard for me to hear you.

It’s not fair, I know, having a mom that cannot hear you. I would change it if I could, but I cannot. I will try harder, but it is really up to you. 

Please keep trying. I want to hear you.

Readers, what do you do when someone important to you is hard for you to hear?

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33 thoughts on “Dear Daughter – A Hearing Loss Poem”

  1. mama2russians – suburb of Detroit, MI, USA – I'm a stay at home mom. I have 2 school aged children who have invisible special needs. I also have invisible disabilities (mostly deaf & constantly dizzy). I love to knit & crochet. We have 1 sweet dog & 3 adorable cats. We also have a 5' long reef aquarium just getting up & running. It has 7 fish, a coral, 7 snails, 2 shrimp, 2 urchins & a boatload of hermit crabs! It's busy here!
    mama2russians says:

    I grew up with a mom who had double hearing aids by her mid 30’s. I know how hard it is to be the daughter who yells when she repeats.

    Now, I am the mom with hearing loss. Single sided deaf because of an inner ear tumor & surgery in my ear/brain to remove it. Nerve death on the other side. So, now my kids have to deal with a mom who doesn’t hear well. It makes me sad, but technology also makes me happy! I have a BAHA (bone attached hearing aid) on my deaf side and a new hearing aid on my right side. I love that I can hear better. I am having fun playing with the new hearing aid bling that is available. Hey, if we spent this much money, I am going to jazz it all up!

    I pray our kids know how much we are trying to hear them.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

  2. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
    kathimestayer says:

    I was just thinking about how, when we got married, my husband had no idea he’d be dealing with the practical challenges of having a hard-of-hearing spouse. It’s constant…..repeating, not talking at all when not in proximity (distance variable depending on acoustics), not going to fun, noisy restaurants, being my interpreter/repeater, and more. That’s why I feel like it’s my responsibility to get and wear hearing aids….it’s meeting my friends and relatives halfway. We’re asking a lot from them; we can at least do our part, as imperfect as it is.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Yes it is definitely a two way street. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Sorry to hear that. Keep trying. It is so important.

    2. I had forgotten many of the challenges I faced while raising my wonderful daughters until I read this poem and the corresponding comments. Yes, those young soft voices are such a struggle to understand, but so worth it. I too took my daughters face and turned it to mine as they learned to do to me.

      When we are all excited, we jump from topic to topic; everybody talking and nobody listening. Those with healthy hearing can separate who’s saying what, but I can not. When repeats are needed; things start to slow down. With each repeat, we slowly revert back to our 1 talker at a time rule. Because as children, they’ve learned that for me to understand what they say, they must take turns. They want their voice to be heard.
      After a lifetime of having my undivided attention when they talk.. of having me look at then while they talk, they can not stand it if I do not look at them when they are talking. I can’t text, or walk out of the room or do any of the things I asked them not to do while they were growing up!

      As a result, both are excellent communicators, really better than I am actually. I hope that one day if grandchildren should come along that I will be able to “hear” them too.

      1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
        Living With Hearing Loss says:

        Thank you for sharing your experiences! Great to hear they have grown up to be such strong communicators.

      1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
        Living With Hearing Loss says:

        Interesting idea. Thank you.

  3. If I lived just with my husband and older daughter (17) I’d hardly ever need my hearing aids at home.

    However, my younger daughter(14) has a pretty soft version of our local rural accent, doesn’t like speaking up (unless she’s excited) and loves changing subject mid sentence. She is just as hard to hear as someone the far side of a meeting despite sitting a few feet away.

    In the car, she’s was totally impossible, before I got my hearing aids.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Sorry to hear that. It is tough, but we need to keep trying. It is so important. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. I sent this to a friend but I think it helps us all in a sense . I have a granddaughter who is 10 and she has grown up with me wearing HAs and I expect the day will come when she finds it too much effort but for now she is great. She does all the good things that adults forget , to help me hear, and understands that in the car I will find it too hard so she is happy to sit back and listen to music.in the morning when I don’t have them in and she wants me to hear she nudges me in a nice way to get me to put them in. Hopefully she is growing up deaf aware and for now I appreciate how well she has learnt to communicate with me without much prompting.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      That is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your story.

    2. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
      Kathi Mestayer says:

      You know, I don’t think she’ll find it too much effort….she’s used to it now, and it’s second nature. I grew up in an HoH family. To this day, it’s so much easier for me to do things (like instantly rephrasing what I just said). I’m on autopilot.

      1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
        Living With Hearing Loss says:

        Thank you Kathi. Good to hear.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Texting is a good idea.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comment.

  5. Thank you for this very moving poem. Have you tried a “spouse mic”? It’s a little microphone you pin to the person you need to hear; it sends their voice to your hearing aids. Then they can turn away, etc, and you can still hear them through the mic.

    The hardware involved varies based on what model h.a. you have. Maybe ask your h.a. vendor about it, and also be prepared to do some googling on your own. Not all vendors are up on the latest accessories.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thank you for this great suggestion.

  6. 30 yrs with HA’s until cochlear implant 4/28/2015 Life changing. My husband of 17 years has been PRECIOUS throughout, became my ears with never a complaint. Had implant for me and for respect for him. We’ve become reacquainted. Always a self-advocate, I encourage anyone with hearing loss to ‘come out of the rut’ and even with the days that overwhelm you, life is too short to miss and it, All in all we have so much to be thankful for.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Great advice. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  7. I plan to always keep trying! My Mom is so precious to me and every word she says is important! She is very hard of hearing and I know it is very hard for her. I hope that though words are not always heard correctly we find ways to keep communication going. She has done everything in her power to come up with all the ways to hear better. I hope she knows how much we love her just the way she is , and that having to repeat words here and there is not a bad thing at all. Communication is in may forms too ,and I hope even though words may not always all get through all the time , the message of Love that is always woven through our conversation will always be known
    !

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Wonderful sentiments. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I remember well sitting at a table in a noisy restaurant surrounded by my family. My 18 year old daughter excitedly telling here Dad about her new job, my other daughter talking to her brother about scho, and I sat there and thought about how alone you can feel within your own family. I had always been the “glue” keeping us together and organized, only to see my children go to their father more and more with their questions and plans. It hurt. A lot.

    I tried patience, understanding, being unselfish, and experienced withdrawal, sadness and depression. My family tried, I would put on a smile and then cry when alone. No one can really understand how it feels to be part and yet apart from your loved ones.

    You have to keep trying and find ways to communicate with your family. Write, text, type on a laptop or iPad, gesture, get frustrated, tell them how important they are to you, and struggle to stay connected. Don’t give up. Ever.

    I was fortunate that Cochlear Implants restored my hearing and gave me back easy communication in my relationships. If I had stayed deaf it would have been sign language with the youngest, who was still willing to learn, and texting with the older ones. If you can take advantage of technology do it… And if not, just keep trying different ways to reach your kids. Meet them half way or go the extra steps toward them … But keep moving always.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Excellent advice. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  9. My grandmother, who is 85, has hearing loss. She has had it for over 30 years and where we live there is only one place to go to for aids. Even after having them, she still distanced herself from everyone, quit going to family functions, out with friends, etc because she still couldn’t hear very well with the aids. We had found out that a big box store had a hearing center and does free testing. We were skeptical but finally decided “what can it hurt”. So we went into Sam’s Club and the specialist in there was amazing and the hearing aids were incredible. Who knew a big box store would have a hidden gem like their hearing aids. I am still floored by this knowledge. But more importantly, my gram started going to family dinners again and she just last week, even started going out with friends again. I have not seen her this happy in years and to HEAR her laugh, is the most amazing gift. I am so glad we found this place so she doesn’t have to “live with hearing loss” anymore. Especially since we found out the effects that untreated hearing loss has contributing to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. So glad the hearing aids are working well for her!

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