Today’s guest blog is by Michelle Friedman, Director of Marketing at Medical Scrubs Collection, freelance writer, and mom to a very special hearing-impaired little boy. She is passionate about spreading awareness and support for hearing impaired children as they work to communicate in a hearing world.
The holidays are a happy time; a time to enjoy friends, family and good food. A time to rekindle connections and enjoy the comforts of home. Along with all the warm fuzzies, comes a big focus on communication and relationships, and for someone who has a hearing loss this can be one of the hardest times of the year. Whether you have a hearing loss, or will be hosting someone who does, these easy adjustments will make your holiday party enjoyable for everyone.
Choose Your Seat
Mood lighting helps set the tone, but it also casts many objects in shadow, among them, your companions’ mouths. Choose a seat that is situated in a well-lit area so that you can easily watch for expression, facial cues, and other visual cues around the room. If you have better hearing on one side try to position yourself with your better ear toward your company, and choose a seat from which you can make eye contact with as many people as possible. The center of the table is a good position, preferably next to people who have quiet voices. A patient person is also the best seat-mate, as they can clue you in if you missed something.
Quiet is Your Friend
Background noise makes listening more difficult, and a party is nothing if not noisy! Ask your host in advance if there’s any way to cut out the background music, or keep it soft, on a really low volume. The same holds true for the tv - ask your host to shut or mute it during dinner, and if a movie is being shown for the guests, request closed captioning so you don’t have to strain to hear the dialogue. Hold off on the dishes until the party is over; the clatter will just add to the din. At a cocktail party or before dinner you can also help yourself by choosing a quiet corner away from loud speakers or the center of the room.
As much as you prepare, there comes a point when the noise may be overwhelming and you start to feel that banging at the back of your temples. If the chaos becomes too much, do yourself a favor and excuse yourself from the room for a moment or two. Go to a quiet room, breathe deeply, and collect yourself so that you’re ready to face the festivities head on.
Assistive Listening Devices
If you wear a hearing aid, the perfect time to take your technology in for a checkup and stock up on batteries is before the holiday events start happening. Minor issues such as static can be exacerbated in noisy environments, so it’s best to head it off with some TLC from your audiologist or local hearing aid vendor. You can also use an FM system, sound field, or other accessories to further enhance your listening capabilities. Speak to your hearing professional about the best way to make your technology work for you.
Hearing loss doesn’t stop you from going about your daily life, and it shouldn’t impede the Holiday experience, either. With a little bit of thought and accommodation everyone can enjoy this year’s party season.