Of course, going clubbing is not for everyone, but I hope that by sharing my experiences and tips, I can help you make your night out more enjoyable – even with a hearing loss.
After all, the holiday party season is coming up!
Pre-gatherings are a great chance for everyone to get together and chat before heading to the clubs. Gathering first in an informal place, such as someone’s house, gives you a chance to meet new people in the group, have some drinks, play some games, etc. Don’t worry if you struggle to understand. If you find it too difficult to communicate, perhaps pull your friends to one side and ask if they can repeat things if you don’t understand them. If not, just smile and nod your head! There are also some apps, such as Ava, which transcribes group chats live. Why not try that?
Quite often people get taxis or lifts to the clubs. Make sure the taxi driver knows exactly where they are taking everyone. This is the part I always struggle with, as it can be quite dark and can’t often use a light to lipread or sign. I tell my friends I can’t hear in the dark and they are quite understanding. Usually, I will either briefly hold my phone light under my friend’s lips, or type to my friends on my phone or wait patiently until we get to our destination.
You will probably be ID’d on entry to the club, but there should be nothing to worry about (as long as your of age!) When entering the club, it will often be dark and the loud music can really hit you. If you set your hearing aids or device to the quietest setting, or turn them off, it might make it more enjoyable for you. My most important piece of advice: always stay together in a group, or pairs, if possible. Make sure you have everyone’s phone number and if you have a taxi booked for the end of the night, arrange a meeting place and time with everyone.
In a loud background noise situation, remember even hearing people struggle to hear, so try and make the best of it. Getting frustrated won’t help. When ordering drinks at the bar, either speak loud and clear, using gestures to help, or type it on your phone and the bartender should be able to help. Usually everyone will take it in turns to buy ‘rounds’ or if you prefer, buy your own drinks.
The main part of the club, and the fun part is the dance floor! It’s a chance to have a groove with your friends, let loose and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry if you can’t recognize the song. IF you’d really like to know what song is playing, try Soundhound or Shazam are great apps.
After chatting to a few of my Deaf friends, they have had the same experience where we can hear the music but can’t recognize it. I also use the beat from the dance floor to help with dancing and watch what everyone else is doing and dance in a similar style to them. In between songs, also known as when the ‘beat drops’, people stop dancing. I embarrassed myself and kept dancing at this time… I did get a few odd looks but I just laughed it off! So watch others!
“I also use the beat from the dance floor to help with dancing and watch what everyone else is doing and dance in a similar style to them.”
With communication on the dance floor, simple sign language is probably the best way to go about this. For example, ‘drink’ sign with your hands, or ‘toilet’ or ‘time to go’ etc. It’s very unlikely you’ll miss anything important, as people don’t usually chat too much at the club!
Most importantly, stay safe and drink responsibly! Keep your belongings with you and stay around people you know.
I hope you enjoy your night out and don’t worry about your hearing loss, it shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you want to do!
Do you have any other tips, or would like to share your experiences? I’d love to read your comments below!