During the holidays, family gatherings and parties abound. For those with hearing loss these festivities may be a source of stress and insecurity. The constant concentration required to focus on conversation with a lot of background noise can be exhausting and overwhelming. Because of this, many people with hearing loss may avoid parties and holiday gatherings altogether.
If you have a loved one who suffers from hearing loss, making a few simple changes can help them to be more comfortable at your party and make them happy to attend your gathering.
Turn down the music; turn up the lights.
Parties can be dark and noisy with loud music. If your interior is bright and the music is not too loud, it can keep the noise levels down and help people to see and understand their conversation partners better.
Break it up.
Set aside areas for different activities and space them out: a space for mingling, a space for eating, another for dancing, and another to watch sporting events. This can break up background noise and make the party easier to navigate.
Watch out for wallflowers.
When people are exhausted from the efforts of communication and want to escape, they may retreat to a quiet room or corner. If you see someone doing this, engage them in a one-on-one conversation in a quiet area so they don’t feel left out. And don’t push them to return to the festivities until they are ready.
Be mindful of the needs of guests.
We often think to ask in advance about dietary restrictions, but we can also ask about other issues guests may have, and if they have a seating preference at the dinner table as a result. If you can seat someone with hearing issues in the middle of the table instead of the end, it could help them to hear what is going on better and feel more involved in the evening.
Breaks can be good.
If you see a loved one “taking a break” from the party, allow some time for them to regroup. They may just need five or ten minutes of peace and then be ready to get back to the party.
If you plan your party with your hearing-impaired loved ones in mind, it’s much more likely that they will be comfortable enough to attend and have a great time at your gathering.
Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.