These are my top holiday party tips for people with hearing loss so they can fully enjoy the holiday season!
Top at the list of holiday party tips for people with hearing loss is that old favorite – batteries. They have the ability to ruin the best-laid plans.
It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do. Without working batteries, hearing aids are useless. Get into the habit of always carrying spare batteries with you in your wallet, purse, and even in the car. Trust me, you’ll be very glad you did.
If you have rechargeable hearing aids, be sure to give them a long charge before going to your party.
If you are faced with social occasions where the majority of people will be hearing, be prepared. Make sure you know what’s happening and where, because there is nothing worse than turning up at a place only to find that it’s totally unsuitable for your particular needs.
It pays to know the lay of the land. What will the lighting be like? Parties, especially holiday ones, can have darker rooms with twinkling lights. This will often make it difficult to read lips and look at facial expressions. Music is also often turned up just a little bit louder at this time of year. Louder music can mean uneven hearing aid volume and foreground sound being traded for background noise.
The trick here is to try and stake out a good corner. A booth is great, or at least furniture with padding. Near thick curtains or drapes is perfect, as this will really help to deaden the sound. By being aware of these party logistics, you’ll be able to work out your own personal strategy beforehand.
Expect a surprise. Yes, I know that it just so happens to be the time of year where the odd surprise or two might just be expected. That isn’t quite the kind of surprise I meant.
Let me explain. When you have hearing loss, things don’t always go exactly to plan. Hearing issues, tiredness, headaches, and misunderstandings abound. If we approach the festivities with fixed ideas, we can end up being a little disappointed if things don’t quite end up as we’d hoped.
“If we approach the festivities with fixed ideas, we can end up being a little disappointed if things don’t quite end up as we’d hoped.”
The remedy for this really is simply to expect things to be a little messy, expect the unexpected, and try to just go with the flow.
If you’re going out or staying in this holiday time with other people who have hearing difficulties, remember to also make allowances for them. Sometimes we forget that just because we are in a good place in regard to our own hearing challenges, others may not be so lucky.
It is worthwhile remembering that communication is always a two-way street. If you’re at a social event with others who are also hard of hearing, it is vital that you make yourself understood as easily as you can. When possible, stand or sit in a good light, talk at a good, steady pace, and don’t over-exaggerate your facial expressions. Be prepared to move or change things around if needed, so long as it doesn’t compromise your own hearing needs.
Other ways to accommodate someone with a hearing loss include, not putting anything in your mouth (such as chewing gum), and not putting your hand over your mouth when speaking. Ask how best to talk to your companions and accommodate as best as you can. If you want a person’s attention, wave to them, indicating that you are either speaking or are going to speak to them. If you’re in close proximity, touch their shoulder, elbow, or hand in order to gain their attention before speaking.
This can help those of us with hearing loss have a full conversation rather than playing a game of catch-up on what was missed.
Going out and having a good time or socializing back home shouldn’t ever be a chore. It should always be exciting to meet, mix, and mingle with both friends and family at this time of year. Providing you check this list of holiday party tips for people with hearing loss, there really is no good reason for not joining the party.
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