Invited to a wedding, backyard barbecue, or family gathering? We understand that attending social events with hearing aids can present a challenge. But with our tips and guidance, there’s no need to feel stressed. Enjoy every party this year, including all the sounds and conversations that make memories so special.
With the combination of background music, clinking cutlery and lively conversation, small and large gatherings alike can be difficult and even anxiety-producing for people with hearing loss. However, parties don’t have to be stressful. Whether you or someone you love wears a hearing aid, or you just need help following the conversation, check out our tips to help everyone feel included in the good times.
When you get to the event
You can take a few steps to prepare yourself for the best possible experience before you go and right when you get there.
- Don’t forget your hearing aids, and ensure your devices are fully charged.
- Make sure you have a fresh battery or pack an extra one just to be safe.
- Avoid sitting directly near a live band, loudspeakers or near the busy kitchen area.
- Do sit where you can see and hear as many people as possible.
- Move any obstacles on the table like flowers or candles if you can’t see people’s faces when they’re talking.
- Sit in an area with good lighting so you can see faces and lip read, should you need to.
During the event
- Let your host or table buddies know you have hearing loss. They can help you follow conversations more easily, or even turn down the music or television for you.
- Remember to take “listening breaks” if you find yourself feeling fatigued; your brain may need some quiet time, and that’s okay.
- Enjoy some one-on-one time with your favorite people in a private area when following multiple conversations becomes overwhelming.
Hosting a hearing-friendly party
- Consider using a round table rather than a long rectangular one – it can make it easier for people with hearing loss to keep up with conversations.
- Lower the music volume so it doesn’t distract from conversations.
- Break the party up into multiple rooms so people have a quiet place to go and take a break from the social chatter and noise.
- For more informal parties, the simple use of paper/plastic cups and utensils can cut down on the distracting noise of metal and glass clinking together.
If you do have hearing loss, it’s important to self-advocate so you can participate in social events to the fullest.