It's that time of year when the calendar can be full. It can feel like there is an enormous expectation to have fun and navigating these social events with hearing loss can be hard. Hearing loss can sometimes make dining out with friends, family and work colleagues an exhausting experience. Crowded rooms, loud music, and constant background noise can be painful and frustrating. In contrast, putting your feet up at home with a favourite book and a box of chocolates can seem a more attractive proposition. It doesn’t have to be this way… We’ve compiled a few top tips on how to make the most of social events and outings...
1. Carry out a daily maintenance check on your hearing aidsWax guards can clog up easily so need to be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis. Keeping your hearing aids in tip-top condition will increase their lifespan and ensure you receive the best possible sound.
2. Be preparedTake a spare set of hearing aid batteries with you. You don’t want your hearing aids to run out of power during a meal or at an event.
3. Book a hearing friendly venueLow ceilings and carpeted floors are best as they soak up the unnecessary sound. If seating is required – roundtables are particularly useful for lip-reading.
4. As a guest, think aheadLet your host know in advance of a social gathering or works party that you have a hearing impairment. It will give them time to make small changes to increase your comfort and help you get the best out of the event.
5. Find a quiet, well-lit spot at partiesAvoid being too close to the dance floor. Flashing lights and loud music can make conversation a major challenge. Additional lighting will help you read body language and fill in some of the gaps.
6. Don’t be shy, command attentionIt’s important the person you’re speaking to faces you so you can lip read and capture what they’re saying. If they’re covering their mouth, speaking too quickly or too loudly, don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down, repeat themselves or turn the volume down slightly.
7. Sit in optimal positionsIf possible, sit in a central position to enable you to lip read the whole group. Aim to keep your good ear closest to the person you want to chat to, even if it means asking them to switch seats.
8. Monitor your alcohol intakeIf getting tipsy on Auntie Shirley’s sherry is a custom you’d rather keep; just be mindful - the more alcohol you drink, the more difficult it is to hear.
9. Trust in your ability to interpret body language and learn to lip readEspecially when you find yourself in a noisy listening environment, such as a nightclub or bar. We all subconsciously use our bodies to help communicate. The tilt of the head, a roll of the eyes and the movement of lips and tongue can send a clear message, even when words fail.
10. Use modern technology to communicateInstead of a traditional phone call that can end in frustration, you can always Skype, Whatsapp or Facetime your loved ones instead. This way, you’ll be able to fill in any blanks in the conversation by lip reading and interpreting their body language.
11. If you have telecoil settings on your hearing aids, turn them onIf the social event is in a venue that operates an audio induction loop system. This will allow sound from a theatre production or public performance to be streamed directly to your digital hearing aids.
12. Use subtitles to follow your favorite moviesThat way you will get to follow the whole story regardless of the noise around you. We hope that following our tips will help you find social events with hearing loss enjoyable and fun!
About Hearing DirectWe are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, and information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:
- Hearing aids,
- Accessories such as earplugs,
- and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.