The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends. With large gatherings, laughter and conversation, noises tend to elevate, making it difficult for someone with a hearing loss to understand speech and follow conversations. Below are some simple hearing tips that can help you and your guests fully enjoy this holiday season!
When hosting a holiday party at home, it’s important to create a comfortable environment for all guests, including those with a hearing loss.
- Use a round dinner table. Using a circular table will enable those with difficult hearing to lip read and keep up with the conversations, instead of being a few steps behind and having to be brought up to speed.
- Set up more than one room for gathering. Loud laughter and the act of trying to talk over one another may make it difficult for a person with hearing loss to follow conversations. A smaller, more enclosed room away from the primary noise in the common area would be better for one-on-one conversations.
- Lower the volume on holiday music. It may be festive, but music may also be a distraction and could weaken everyone’s ability to listen and converse if played too loud. Keep music soft and subtle and ensure furniture is placed facing away from any musical speakers so that those with hearing loss have an easier time focusing on the conversation before them.
- Break out the cards and board games! Board and card games are a great way to keep the party going, while allowing multiple people to interact. Some suggestions include Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, Apples to Apples, Rummy, etc. Find more hearing loss-friendly games here.
- Plastic or Paper. Use disposable plates and utensils instead of china and silverware that clanks.
If you’re attending a holiday party and you have a hearing loss, there are some easy, unobtrusive tactics you can use to communicate better with other guests – and they all have to do with location.
- Find a quieter area. When engaging in a one-on-one conversions, try to find somewhere that is quiet, has soft surfaces and little or no music to ensure that you can better hear what the other person says.
- Position your “best side.” In a large group setting, position yourself in a spot where you can see the most people and make eye contact with them. If you have a “better side,” seat yourself so that most people are on that side.
- Consider lighting. Engage with guests in a well-lit area so that you can read people’s lips and visual clues if necessary.
- Pick a dinner buddy. At dinner, seat yourself next to a person you have the least difficulty hearing or someone who usually clues you in on missed pieces of conversation.
- Tell the host ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to speak to the host about accommodating your needs – whether it’s turning down the music or directing you to a quieter area where you’re able to catch up with friends and family.
Click here to learn tips on how to talk to a loved one about hearing loss during the holiday season.
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