Meet Shanna Groves, Lip Reading Mom Blogger

Shanna Groves, Lip Reading Mom

Meet Shanna Groves, Lip Reading Mom Blogger

Shanna Groves, also known as Lipreading Mom online, has progressive bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and considers herself hard of hearing, meaning that she has some residual hearing. How deafness has impacted her life is a complicated matter. Groves does not identify as being culturally Deaf; Groves sees herself as somewhere in between the Deaf and hearing cultures.

Her brain has learned to adjust to the hearing loss, and her hearing loss does not have the negative impact that it did when she was first diagnosed in 2001. Groves has for the most part accepted that she can hear some sounds and cannot hear other sounds, and that acceptance is a positive thing from her perspective.

Groves finds that she is able enjoy peace and quiet when there are many sounds that she cannot hear. Groves does have tinnitus (ringing the ears), which impacts silence. Loud sounds, such as children’s screams, fireworks, or other noises that might be jarring to people with typical hearing do not impact Groves as much.

Groves is able to overcome communication barriers by building awareness and advocating for herself. Her family is accommodating to her hearing loss by repeating themselves when needed and use clear enunciation. Facing Groves before speaking so she has full attention to them before they speak is another method Groves is able to communicate clearly.

Groves has learned to advocate for herself in a variety of situations. This includes asking for medical professionals to wear clear face masks during the pandemic so that she could lip-read at appointments. Other accommodations include requesting closed captions of live virtual meetings and webinars and advocate for quality captioning of recorded videos. Groves serves on the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and advocates for greater inclusion of the Deaf and hard of hearing at a state level.

“Blogging as “Lipreading Mom” has allowed me to meet individuals around the world who identify as hard of hearing or D/deaf. I have interviewed some of these individuals, which has brought awareness to the uniqueness of being D/deaf or hard of hearing,” said Groves. Her blogs have built awareness about hearing technology through the “Show Me Your Ears” photo campaign and awareness of inclusion with Stop Hearing Loss Bullying. Her blogs inform people about the various kinds of captioning available and how to request captions with live and recorded events.

“One person can make a difference, and it takes many people to make that difference permanent,” said Groves. Groves went on to explain that, “this means that while we can advocate for our own accessibility and inclusion, it is important to collaborate with others to impact lasting change.” Getting involved in organizations that support the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities such as the National Association of the Deaf, Association of Late Deafened Adults, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Groves has written two books about D/deafness and hearing loss. These include Lip Reader (2009) and Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom (2013). “Writing both of these books helped with accepting my identity as a hard of hearing person,” said Groves.

For more information about Groves’ blogs, please visit https://lipreadingmom.com/about/