I’ll admit, I have never been the most outgoing person. If there’s a large social gathering, there’s probably a 99% chance I won’t be there (although if they have free food…). But let’s be real; I love hanging out with friends just as much as the next person. But growing up as the only kid in my class who wore hearing aids, I often felt like an outcast.
If you’re like me and you find social situations daunting, here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped me navigate through my social life.
Parties and dances are often fast-paced and loud. Combined with dim lighting it seems like these kinds of events are a huge no-no for use deaf teens. But there’s no reason to miss out if you don’t want to.
Ask your friends if they don’t mind looking out for your safety, and try and stay in a position where you can observe almost everything.
All I can say- always sit in the middle. It gives you the best place to lipread everyone around you, including waiters and waitresses.
A similar tip for car rides with friends- never sit up front unless you know you’ll get motion sick from being in the back. A 6-hour drive made me very aware that turning around every time one of my friends spoke was not a good idea.
Try and see if your group can schedule the day out on a quiet day (it usually costs less, too!) This way you can minimize your chances of losing your group.
Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t or don’t want to go on water rides. You may think you are missing out, but it’s one ride- you’ll have many more to go on.
It may be just a personal preference, but if a ride has a loop or has a wild track, I always take my hearing aids out. Use your judgement here. Additionally, bring an extra pack of batteries. Seriously, whenever I think I have a couple more days left on my batteries I really have 2 hours.
A lot of these tips can be applied to many places- concerts, assemblies, and the like. It might seem like social things aren’t meant for you- I felt that way too – but you can attend any event with hearing loss!
When you go out and try new things, it may end up being easier than you thought. Through experience you find out what works and what doesn’t.
What mechanisms have you found that helps you in your social life? Feel free to share in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter!