Gilda was so right!! It is always something, especially for the hearing impaired

In my everyday life, I occasionally hear a word and wonder, “What was that word?”

This week, the word was uniform, but I didn’t know if the person said uniform or unicorn. Can you tell how that would be confusing? I mean the two words are so similar, right? Just imagine this: A young child comes to you and says, “My mom bought me a uniform.” When you have a hearing loss, you might not actually hear the F in that word because it is an unvoiced sound, and there is no way you can figure it out from context. I just try and remember to ask lots of questions to figure out what the child said.

Then, earlier today my hubster and I were checking out old footage of SNL videos in anticipation of tonight’s 40th anniversary show.

We found two hilarious videos that exemplify what it’s like to have a hearing loss, both involving my favorite SNL star, Gilda Radner. (Loved her!!)

I’ve actually made this myself a few times, because I heard a word, or a phrase, incorrectly:

Please be a good guy like Chevy, and help your hearing impaired friends out. Maybe even a little sooner than he did!!

And, this second one just reminds me of life as a Pre-K teacher. It was amusing when I, a hearing impaired teacher, worked with children still in the process of learning to pronounce certain words. (L’s and R’s always seem to be tricky for the little guys.)

Of course, these ladies are doing this for fun but I’d love to know how many times you need to replay the video to figure out what they are saying!

Enjoy the videos!!

Yes, this pretty much sums it up!

I just saw this commercial this morning, and well it really does exemplify how tricky it is for hearing impaired folks to hear well, at times. Some words just sound so very similar, that it is hard to distinguish between them. Please realize, this was in my quiet home as I’m here with just my kitty. However, in a noisy environment it would have been much harder.

Click here to (giggle and) listen:

Discover Commercial

Enough said? Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions.






Once upon a time ….. everyone read to their kids … everyday!

We all know many stories begin with these words, “Once upon a time.” My story, though, is a little different, and quite frankly, surprising. Let me begin with a little introduction. When I was a teenager, I developed a strange lump in my right leg. Many years later it was diagnosed, by doctors in Johns Hopkins Hospital, as a hemangioma. (It just means there are extra blood vessels in my leg creating poor circulation. I have never been interested in the field of science, or medicine, and this post is not about anything medical. I promise!)

Through the years, though, blood clots have formed in that leg several times. One fall, I needed a re-eval to be sure the clot from the previous year had completely dissolved. A Doppler study uses sound waves to measure and detect any such masses, much like the process of searching to find lost ships at sea. As the tech began, he and I started to chat. He learned that I was a Pre-K teacher (2007) and that my role was to help prepare children to enter Kindergarten “ready to learn,” the following fall. When he asked me about the “one thing” that would help his young children, I said, “Read aloud to them.”

“Really?” he responded. “By the time my wife and I get home in the evenings, eat dinner, get the kids in the tub, and in the bed, we are wiped out.”

This comment made me very sad.

Here is the point of this blog:  As an educator of preschool children, for the past seven years,  I’m concerned that some parents are not reading to their young children as often as parents did years ago.

May I just encourage you to read to, and with, your children …. often?

Believe me, I understand when people say, “I’m just so busy.” Man, oh man, I get crazy busy myself!

However, when we think about young children learning pre-reading skills, and even getting excited about and interested in learning to read by themselves, reading to them is such a vital, and rich learning opportunity. There are so many ways to use that time to help children improve cognitive skills, learn new vocabulary, make predictions, and draw conclusions, and even learn to express their own thoughts and feelings. I always enjoy reading with different voices for each character too. Children love it, when we make it fun!!  (Perhaps, I should blog more on this another day.)

As educators we are encouraged to create print rich environments in our classrooms, but parents can do this at home too in many ways. There are many, many great books written for children and local librarians can be quite helpful in finding excellent literature for children. (And, those books are free!)

My story, as an idealist, would begin, “Once upon a time there was a land where every family read books to their children every evening, even as they got older.”

And, the end of the book would read, “They grew up reading (and learning about strange medical conditions all by themselves) happily ever after.”

Please note I am passionate about this issue, and I would love for you to consider buying my book. It was a pleasure to create it, and the children in my preschool have enjoyed it for several years. If you are interested in a book patterned after The Cat in the Hat, check it out. I have a sequel, too, which I hope to publish soon. Happy reading!      BCB Cat in Tub Image for Bookwire from Blurb




I’m dreaming of … writing many children’s books, still!

Although I wrote this post about a year ago, I thought I’d update it to share good news:

My original goal with this blog was to inform and educate people about the challenges of the hearing impaired, from my perspective since I have had a hearing loss for about 50 years.

I am also writing a book for adults on hearing loss. My dad, for example, had a pretty serious loss during his latter years, and I’m sure people didn’t quite understand how to be supportive. How do I know? I know because that has been my story. Some folks really do understand and are willing to learn how to meet my needs. Other folks just assume, “Okay, I’ll just speaker louder so you can hear me.” It’s not really a bad thought considering that it does help, sometimes. However, it is, unfortunately, not that simple. What if we are both standing on the side of the street as a fire engine whizzes by with the siren blaring? Good luck with speaking louder, for both of us! In what other situations will it be difficult for the person with the hearing loss? And what about the family member who didn’t know my hearing aid was on the fritz? Hence, I am working on writing this book to help everyone who is dealing with this issue.

In the meantime, I have written two picture books for young children, one dealing with hearing loss and hearing aids, complete with rhyming text:


My first children’s picture book, is entitled The Cat in theTub by Ms Barb, Bub.

(It is the book to the right of the photo.)

I had been teaching at a private preschool for about 5 years, working with 4 year old children. Every March, we taught a Literature unit. I enjoy always that unit, teaching the children about great Caldecott winners, nursery rhymes, and of course, Dr. Seuss books.   I have even dressed up in costume and visited them, as “The Cat in the Hat,” as I encouraged literacy skills. What fun!

My director came into my class one Friday morning to show me a photograph on her camera of an adorable gray tabby. “Would you be interested in adopting her?” You guessed it, I brought her home that night. My family and I quickly learned that this kitty (“GG”) was “especially silly,” as she enjoyed playing with all sorts of “interesting things” around the house. Ever since she was very little she’d play with water. First, I had to buy her a weighed dog dish, so she’d stop knocking over the water bowl. And, she’d play with rubber bands (don’t worry they were the thick ones) and drop them into her water bowl, just so she could enjoy fishing them back out of there! Then, she discovered how fun it was to “visit mom” while she (Yes, me) was taking a bath. Oh my goodness! I began taking photographs of her shenanigans in the bathroom, and I made the comment, “This isn’t, “The cat in the hat,’ I have, ‘The cat in the tub.’ And from there the idea just grew. As I played with rhyming text, and made several drafts of the book, my students’ responses encouraged me to get it copyrighted, and self-published. There have been many adorable responses!

My second book began in my head with the title, “These Are My Toys, Boys.” We really didn’t need to buy many store bought toys for “GG,” so I figured it definitely captured her personality. She was content with her drinking straws and pen caps. Then I realized, she could ‘find one of my hearing aids,’ but not for long I assure you!  Wouldn’t it be great for parents, and educators, to have a conversation starter to help young children begin to understand that my hearing aids really aren’t ear buds to listen to music? (Talk about “shaking my head!”)

 An educator I have always enjoyed sharing good literature with children, and now my dream is to create books that enrich vocabulary as well as entertain children, as their literacy skills develop. Hopefully, I can help motivate children to learn to read, in this season where they are so many electronic devices being used. I pray more and more families realize how important it is to make time in their schedule to read to their young children on a daily basis. Believe me, as a parent I know how busy life gets, but we always took time to read to our son.

A young adult friend of mine wrote this, when she first saw the original post on my Facebook page:

 “Yes, children’s books and reading to children matter a lot! I read because my parents spent a lot of time reading to me. They would hold the book and let me see and follow along. When reading Hop on Pop it finally clicked that those symbol things matched the words I was hearing. It was a great moment! fast-forward a few decades and I have 1,000+ books I love so much I carried them across the continent!”  Maria H.

Interested in purchasing a copy of my books?

Follow more updates on Barb’s Books at

Looky!! Looky!!

Can you SEE what I SEE?

IMG_1717    IMG_1718

Who wants to be the first to call me on my new Caption Call telephone? Whatever you say will be transformed into captions…..YEAH!! I’ll be able to SEE what you are saying!!

I will be using the phone again!!

And, because of my hearing loss, I was eligible to get it FOR FREE!!!!

I needed my audiologist to sign some paperwork saying that I, indeed, have a significant loss, and completed some other paperwork on their website, and one thing lead to another and ….now “she is here!”

I also needed to provide ID, and make an appointment for the tech to come set it up, and show me how it works.

Mishaps … when something isn’t heard correctly

A woman asked a baker, “Please place a photo of my daughter on a graduation cake, and put a cap on her head.” (This is my summary of what the woman probably said.)

Before I share the link, let me explain about voiced sounds and unvoiced sounds.

If were you to pronounce the sounds of these letters you’d notice all you are doing is producing air from your lips: Try it, say the sounds each letter makes. Ready?
Say these sounds: S F H P

(We haven’t even begun trying blends such as SH, or WH …)

So why is it hard to discriminate between Cap and Cat? P is a silent UNVOICED sound …. but T is a VOICED sound. I wonder if the woman called the baker on the telephone, if she was very busy, or if she had a hearing loss. Of course, you might think why didn’t she put two and two together? After all, the baker was to write “Congratulations” on the cake.

Maybe she thought the woman just published a book about her cat!! After all that’s what I just did, and I’d love the cake!! (Just don’t tell my Weight Watcher friends!)

Situations I never put myself in …..

We all know that some women avoid going to certain places by themselves, especially at night, for obvious reasons.

As a hearing impaired person, there are some things I just never do because I know I would have a difficult time hearing anyone in that environment.

Yesterday, a dear friend came to pick me up to give me a ride to a restaurant, because my son had my car for the day. Eight of us were getting together for tea and conversation, and in my mind, to celebrate the start of summer. Yeah, I love getting together with the gals!

As she pulled up next to me, the first thing I noticed were both front windows were down and the sunroof was wide open. Hey, I have a sunroof on my car too, and I completely understand how delightful it is to enjoy fresh air on a day when the temperature is in the low 80’s. Just lovely, especially when I am by myself, and I don’t want to listen to a CD or anything on the radio.

When I sat down in the passenger seat and we said our ‘Hellos,” I heard another voice, coming from an electronic device. It was her GPS, and it was moderately loud. As we start driving away, I can tell my ears will be competing with the sound of traffic, the rush of wind outside the car windows, the GPS, and my girlfriend’s voice. “Be patient,” I tell myself, “You can manage. Just remember to speak up about your needs if you have trouble hearing her. She’s a nice person, and she’ll understand.”

Then, she pulls out her cell phone and begins talking to a woman who is behind us a few miles, also driving to the same restaurant. She was giving her directions as the GPS was giving us directions. Now I realize, “This is normal for folks with good hearing, but I would never do it!”

You understand, its no-one’s fault, nor was I upset in anyway. I just want family members, and friends, of the hearing impaired to understand that some situations like that are a tad difficult for those of us that have trouble hearing.

When she got off the phone, I told her I was taking notes for my bog, and we shared a good giggle over the whole thing. It was absolutely what she needed to do, especially since the GPS had a blast taking us around Robin’s barn! And, on the way back home, she did ask if it would help to shut the windows and turn on the AC, and we had a good chat.

See, I told you she was understanding!!

Lesson? I need to keep speaking up for my needs!!