Most people look forward to a festive dinner, wedding or party. Living with a hearing loss and wearing a hearing aid can mean conversation is extra challenging at these social events.
Because the combination of many people, background music, clinking cutlery and lively conversation from high spirited people can be a total nightmare for a person with a hearing loss.
There’s a good chance someone at the table might need help to follow the conversation. Here are some tips to make everyone feel included.
How to participate more in social events with a hearing loss
Living with a hearing loss can make social events challenging. Fear not. We have gathered three tips to help increase your chances of following a conversation, feel included and enjoy yourself.
1. Help others to help you
- Not everyone knows what you need when it comes to your hearing loss. Build the courage to be open and honest. This might include letting the host know about your challenges beforehand, so you have the best chance of following a conversation.
- Remind your family member(s) or friend(s), they may have to repeat things to keep you in the conversation.
- Buddy up and ask your direct neighbour at the table to help you too.
2. Set the scene of the physical setting
- Avoid sitting near the live band, loudspeakers or kitchen area.
- (Re)move obstacles on the table, so you can see people’s faces, e.g. flower arrangements and tall candles.
- Move closer to the person giving a speech, when appropriate.
- Try to sit where you can see as many faces as possible. Or with most people on your ‘good’ side, if this is relevant for your hearing loss.
- Ensure good lighting so you can see faces and lip read, should you need to.
3. Reduce the volume
Background noise makes it harder to hear, especially on top of the excited chatter, galloping cutlery and clattering plates. People tend to speak louder as background noise increases too.
If you are in a private home, make sure the background noise is minimal, e.g. the TV is turned off, music is low or also turned off. Close the curtains and encourage your host to do the dishes after the dinner.
Did you know?
If you can understand 50% of what people are saying, you get just enough to participate. Below 50%, you hear too little information, so the speech loses meaning. That is why noisy places make it harder to participate.
How can you participate more? Let a hearing care professional help