My website is one year old! A lot has happened since, to include the birth of my son in March. He is now 8 months old and doing great.

I created this site after I was frustrated looking for a baby monitor for me, a BTE aid user that cannot hear without my aid and was worried about hearing my baby’s cries at night. As someone who exists MOSTLY outside the deaf community, I felt like this was a good way to embrace my identity as someone with hearing loss, and possibly help others. I wanted a comprehensive list in one spot, so I set out to make it myself.

Unfortunately, I learned, it’s not a very long list at all, and my monitor that I love has already been discontinued. That leaves deaf American parents without a single video baby monitor with vibration options. There are monitors for deaf parents, but shouldn’t a new parent not have to settle on there being no video? Every night, multiple times a night, I check on my son via the video screen of our monitor.

I’m passionate about the subject, but unsure of how to really try and convince the right person to make the monitor that deaf parents need. I have Twitter and have slowly learned how to use it over the past year, but I’m sure I could get a little better at it.

I ended up making my website as MORE than just a list of monitors for deaf and HoH parents, but that is actually what most people come to my site for! It’s by far my most popular page, as it’s now on the front page of Google search results for “baby monitors for deaf parents”. When I started only one year ago, I was lucky to get two hits a week, and now I’d ballpark there’s over a hundred searches every week JUST from people looking for baby monitors for deaf parents. The other pages of my website do get views, but usually from those that arrived via their monitor search.

So, my plan is to keep at it, keep that list updated and see if I can get a little better at figuring out how to make a product that is very much wanted and needed.

Thanks for sticking around!

Initially, it doesn’t seem like hearing loss would have any impact on someone’s physical fitness, but I’m curious to know if others find that they’re less inclined to exercise because of deafness or wearing a hearing aid.

For me, as you know from my strangely specific quest of finding a waterproof hearing aid, I’d love to be able to swim and hear, especially for safety purposes like lifeguard announcements, but also just to be more comfortable in a group setting at the pool, or swimming lanes for exercise. I feel pretty discouraged by swimming as exercise.

In 2015, I decided to do the Couch to 5K program, and signed up for a Halloween 5K as my goal. (And may I just brag, I won the bronze in my age group, but I should probably tell you there were only 5 women in the 20-29 bracket…)

But, I did have to do several things differently to train for this 5K, and if I hadn’t been as determined as I was, I can see how I would have felt discouraged by the limitations of my hearing aid.

Firstly, I wanted to listen to my 5K app prompts for walking/running and to hear my mile splits. And listen to music too! But I can’t wear in-ear buds and over the ear headphones are way too cumbersome to run in. What I did was I used a T-coil hook, which worked well, but I still wasn’t ever totally comfortable cutting out all surrounding noise like cars or other people, so I’d switch off telecoil whenever I was crossing a road or anything. Furthermore, it didn’t always stay put in the best spot behind my ear, which sometimes led to a rapid bobbing of audio coming in and out as I ran… not ideal, but it worked.

The next issue was sweat, especially since I had started my training in the summer. My new aid seems to be pretty moisture-resistant, but I had to be a lot more careful with my previous one. I found that wearing the T-coil hook kept the aid off my head enough, and since it was only a 5K, I wasn’t sweating for too long before I could remove it and wipe it down.

Now that I’m 6 months postpartum, I’m thinking about these things again and might revisit what accessories I use.

Do you feel like there’s anything that keeps you from your fitness goals?

Pretty typical look for my hair pulled back.

This is a topic that I think on a lot, as I tend to contradict myself—I feel that no one should be ashamed of anything associated with a disability, but at the same time, I’ve always made an effort (whether unconsciously or very consciously) to hide my hearing impairment. This is something I’ve been trying to work on in recent years, trying to discuss it or bring it up as casually as someone mentioning they need glasses to read (which… I do too). This whole post might sound seem strange coming from someone who started an entire web presence called “the deaf mama”. I’ve gotten a LOT better about it, but I still notice things I do here and there.

For example, I wear a behind-the-ear (BTE) aid on my left ear, and when my hair is pulled back tight off the ear, it’s visible. Starting in high school, I started tugging my hair or wearing looser styles so that it fell over my ears some to conceal the aid. Over time, it became a habit of mine, one that I don’t even catch myself doing. The other day, I had my hair up high in a bun and went out to the mailbox, and when I saw a neighbor coming over to chat, I noticed my hand going up to fix my hair! Why? I guess it’s still a holdover from my insecure puberty days. But many people tend to choose a hearing aid color that blends in with their skin or hair, so it can’t be just me that struggles with this. I imagine it is more pronounced in those that wear a hearing aid while growing up.

While I still tend to try and hide my hearing aid physically, I’ve gotten a lot better about being upfront with it in conversation, though I oftentimes have to REMEMBER to tell someone about my hearing impairment. I’m not sure how common this is, but I have a fairly significant impairment, yet I don’t sign—I wasn’t raised in D/deaf circles. I wore an auditory trainer through 8th grade, and then ditched it (without issue) to try and “blend in” more. I do lip read, and I orient myself so my left ear is closest to the conversation. And I always have subtitles on my TV. Only the most perceptive people have noticed these little things and asked if I haven’t volunteered the information. There was a period of time in college where I would say “oh, I’m deaf in my right ear” and that seemed to sit with people much quicker than, “oh, I wear a hearing aid in my left ear,” which was a more foreign concept to most people at that time. This, of course, stems from feeling like you’re being treated differently after someone learns this information, which unfortunately does actually happen sometimes. The worst is when someone starts speaking uncomfortably slowly and loudly after learning about my impairment, even though the conversation was going fine before… oy.

There have been moments in my life where I really should have let people know. Probably the most embarrassing one I’ve ever had as an adult is when my aid battery died in the middle of a French class I was taking in DC when I was maybe 23 or 24. I didn’t have any spare batteries (I always do now!), and I couldn’t hear a THING. I panicked and acted like I didn’t feel good and basically ran home, because trying to explain the whole impairment and THEN explain the dead battery in this aid that I wear was just going to be too much. People probably thought I had some major gastrointestinal issue, and it would have been much less stressful if I had established that in the beginning.

Is this something that any of you struggle with? Or, depending on your degree of loss and your age, is it a non-issue for the social circles you find yourself in?