Shanna Groves -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Shanna Groves

Shanna Groves -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


She is an author, speaker, speech reading instructor, project manager, communications pro and now an educator. Shanna (Bartlett) Groves has had an active professional career that was strongly influenced by a personal experience – hearing loss.

“Fourteen years ago, I had my first child. While cuddling, burping and kissing on my baby, my ears rang like crazy,” Groves says in her blog.

No problem, the doctor told me while I strained to hear him. You’re just going deaf. You need hearing aids. That’s not exactly what he told me. The doctor used the term progressive hearing loss -- same thing as going deaf. I walked out of that medical office with my head spinning. No way in heck I was going to wear hearing aids.

“Me. 27 years old (at the time). Fresh off of maternity leave. A new job. My hair cut as short as singer Chynna Phillips from her Wilson Phillips’ days. Not a flattering haircut with behind-the-ear hearing aids that plugged into my visible ears like electrical cords. Hearing aid wearing mom? Not me, no way. Back then, I’d rather have dyed my hair purple with pink polka dot highlights than worn chunky electronics in my ears.

“Two years later, my son was old enough to talk. A lot. I had every reason to hide my ears from him. I couldn’t understand a word he said unless it was at piercing scream-level pitch. No more cooing and cuddling for us. It was ‘hard of hearing mom’ versus ‘screaming child.’

“I went back to the doctor. You still have those hearing aids, I asked him. ‘Cause I need them more than ever now. That day, I finally accepted my hearing loss. I am a Lipreading Mom, not just mom or a lipreader. Both aspects must find a way to live together.”

Groves has published two books about her journey as a Lipreading Mom. Lip Reader features a colorful cast of characters -- an unkempt uncle living in a school bus; a grandfather who preaches in a rundown church; a grandmother born deaf; an aunt fluent in sign language but lacking in social graces; and Sapphie, who finds courage and hope despite mother Rea’s unthinkable act of betrayal.

In Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom, Groves explores the roller coaster ride of her progressive hearing loss.

Groves is a 1996 USAO communication graduate. This summer she earned her Master’s in early childhood special education. In August, she became an early childhood special education teacher for the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas.

“USAO prepared me professionally by providing a strong base in the communication field. I learned valuable communication skills that have benefitted my career as a writer and as an educator.”

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