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.”

“MOM, HURRY!”

“Just a few more seconds!”

“MOM!”

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?

Kids: MMPPPPHHHH!

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!

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