Health & Fitness

Expert Tips to Make Summer Social Events Easier with Hearing Loss

  • Aug 5, 2023
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Expert Tips to Make Summer Social Events Easier with Hearing Loss

  Summer is a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family, but the thought of social events becoming more regular over the warmer months can be daunting to those with hearing loss. Whether it’s a family reunion, a close friend’s wedding, or a BBQ with work colleagues, Dr, Jenn Schumacher, audiologist for ReSound, has listed some simple strategies for someone with hearing loss to reduce feelings of stress and worry when attending a social event this summer, and make for a more relaxing and comfortable experience:

1. Scope out quiet and well-lit areas

When attending a social event with lots of people, try to sit or stand in quiet zones and avoid noisy areas, such as the food and drink station or music speakers. If someone initiates a conversation with you near a noisy area, just ask politely if you could move to a quieter zone such as the garden or the corner of a room, as the walls behind you will help to shield additional noise. Try and stick to well-lit areas, as this will make lip reading and seeing facial expressions clearer and easier to follow, to help you capture what people are saying.

2. Be open about your needs

It’s ok to communicate your needs to those around you at social gatherings, so people know how to make things easier and more comfortable for you. Reach out in advance to whoever is hosting an event or gathering to make certain requests ahead of time, such as having the music on a lower volume or sitting at the head of the table to have a better view of the group during conversations.

3. Visit public venues during off-peak times

If you are invited to a social event that is in a public venue such as a restaurant, see if it’s possible for the gathering to be held during off-peak times, as it’s more likely the venue will be quieter and less crowded. Once at a venue, it might be useful to communicate with staff and request to sit in quieter zones that are well-lit, such as away from the kitchen or bar areas.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat themselves

Sometimes, it might be hard to get away from loud or busy areas during a social gathering with friends and family, particularly if you’re out in public. A common concern is having to ask people to repeat themselves if you don’t quite catch what they said the first time around. However, don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat what they just said, or ask for confirmation that you heard them correctly. Visual cues, such as cupping your hand around your ear, are another useful way to let someone know that you are struggling to understand them and may encourage them to speak at a louder volume and more clearly to help with lip reading.

5. Research hearing-friendly venues

High levels of background noise can interfere with being able to hear those around you, and if your friends or family members are planning a social event that will be in a public setting, try and plan by researching venues that cater to hearing-impaired customers. Platforms such as SoundPrint enable you to discover quiet venues in your area, or in cities that you plan on visiting over the summer months, which have been tested for their sound levels and are submitted to a large database for others to discover and enjoy.

6. Take breaks to reset if needed

Socializing for long periods with hearing loss can be exhausting, as it takes so much concentration to hone in on the conversations around you. It’s important to take breaks when you feel overwhelmed or fatigued. Spending some time by yourself to embrace some silence can help you reset and recharge before joining back in with the group.    
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