Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Hearing is Fine but My Listening Ears Are Tired

After a year of struggling to hear what my husband and kids were saying, I booked a hearing test–I realized this was necessary after I accused everyone of mumbling; could it actually be me with the problem? Upon finishing the hearing test, the clinician told me that my hearing was in the normal range and then our discussion turned into a counselling session of sorts.

Mom and kids on bridge

The conversation could have been initiated because I asked if I could stay in that sound-free booth forever after solo parenting five children for four days. She said she has seen this before and it appears that there are so many people that need me to actually listen with the constant background noise of others that causes me to feel emotionally and mentally drained. It is so true.

Three of our five kids need to be heard more than most children; they require immediate affirmation that they have been heard and then the appropriate response. If you are thinking "Can't they wait like everyone else?", well, we are working on it but there are reasons for this and in the meantime we listen and respond.

For all three children that we have fostered there have been speech delays. Often parents are overwhelmed and therefore there are no limits on screen time.Television viewing for toddlers and preschoolers is related to decreased language skills and poor attention skills. There is also an increase in behavioural problems. I get it–when you are just trying to make it through the day, the TV can do the trick. However, children need face-to-face interaction to learn and therefore if you are watching TV together it is better to talk about what you are seeing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screens under 18 months of age and children ages two to five should watch no more than one hour a day. Talking with your young children is simple and can make a world of difference.

In order to work on language skills there is a lot of repeating of what is said in this house; this is to check in to make sure I understood correctly and so I can correctly pronounce something without "correcting". Child: Caw! Me: Yes, a red car. In order to teach new vocabulary and sentence structure we are constantly describing everything in short sentences. "I see a bus! Do you see it?" "We can wave to the driver. Hi, driver!" "I see people on the bus. Do you?" "The light changed! Green means go! Red means..." etc. It is all very effective but it is exhausting. Throw in the noise of the rest of the family and I'm always trying to decipher who needs to be responded to, in what order, and how I should respond, at all times.

One of the hearing test activities was repeating what was said while listening to background noise. That was the most stressful test for me because that is my every day life. I want everyone to feel heard because it helps so much with the behaviours we experience, but wow, it is a lot of work.

When I am in the car by myself the music is off. If I'm home alone the TV is off. All this to say: my hearing is fine and the conversations you have with your toddlers and preschoolers are so important. And I need more alone time. And I would love a sound-free booth in my home. Ahhhhhhh....

Love, Louise


  1. Maybe that's my problem too!

    1. I bet! I was thinking of all the moms of multiple kids :)

  2. This is so me! I can't hear them! It causes frustration for all of us. I also want the TV OFF!

    1. Same about the TV!!! My husband loves it as background noise and it drives me crazy.