LipReading Mom, aka Shanna Groves, was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children who provide creative fodder for her writing. Her books include “Lip Reader” and the just-released “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom.”
Through her blog and speaking events, Shanna advocates for hearing loss awareness through projects such as the Lipreading Mom Captions Campaign, Show Me Your Ears, and Stop Hearing Loss Bullying. Follow Shanna’s blog at LipreadingMom.com and learn more about her other activities at ShannaGroves.com.
Q: Tell us a little about your background and how you became interested in writing.
A: My first foray into writing was in middle school when I joined the yearbook staff. One day I learned that I had won the Outstanding English Student Award for my school. A gigantic trophy and tons of writing confidence followed.
I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and developed quite a memory for people I met and places I saw. All those memories came in handy years later when I became an aspiring novelist. Knowing how to write helped channel my feelings about living with progressive hearing loss.
Q: What led you to write “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom?”
A: Biographies and memoirs are my favorite genre. A writing instructor once asked what was so special about my life that it warranted a book. It took eight years for my life story to materialize into “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom.”
I had to live life, not just write about it, in order to have a story worth telling. My book is about living with hearing loss while taking care of children, living with depression, and trying to make sense out of a progressive health issue. Writing this book was my therapy.
Q: What is “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom” about?
A: In 2001, I became a new mom to a healthy seven-pound boy. While on maternity leave, I noticed a persistent ringing inside my ears. The doctor’s diagnosis: progressive hearing loss in both ears; cause unknown. My book spans the first six years of my life as a hard-of-hearing mom.
How could I take care of my babies if I couldn’t hear their cries from the other room? Would I become completely deaf and if so, how would I communicate with my children? The doorbell’s chime, the phone ringing, and my toddler’s first words were silent.
After two years of denial, I began wearing hearing aids, but I didn’t like them. They magnified the sounds I didn’t want to hear, such as temper tantrums. Eventually, I learned to navigate the uncertain waters of hearing loss.
I became an online hearing loss community advocate, known as Lipreading Mom. This wasn’t my lifelong plan, but it is something I have come to embrace. Besides being a wife and mom, I believe my purpose on earth is to tell this story.
Q: Where can readers find your book?
A: “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom” is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle, as well as my publisher’s website: www.CrossRiverMedia.com.