The warmer weather is a great time to be out socializing. You may have already been invited to a few summer parties or barbecues. If you have a hearing loss, you may hesitate to accept the invitation. However, communicating at outdoor social gatherings can actually be easier than indoor gatherings! To start with, there’s normally more space for people to spread out, allowing conversation at a normal level without needing to shout. The environment is also often more suited to conversation, as sounds aren’t bouncing off of as many hard surfaces.
To help you make the most of social gatherings, here are our 5 tips to enjoy summer parties with hearing loss:
Ask your host ahead of the party what activities are likely to take place. Bring the necessary hearing protection or other items in preparation. For example, if it’s a pool party you’ll want to consider bringing a dry box to store your hearing aids. If there will be fireworks, bring some ear protection along. It’s also a good idea to pack a spare set of batteries. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, but remove your hearing aid when you apply it.
This will give you chance to speak to the host about your hearing and request the music volume to be kept down. It also enables you to pick a spot that is ideal for your hearing and communication needs. Look for somewhere quiet i.e. away from speakers or AC units. Choose a well lit area. To help with lip reading, try to sit so that the sun doesn’t glare the face of those you are speaking with.
As these events are more casual than dining indoors, feel free to mingle and move around, especially if weather conditions change. It’s good experience to communicate with different people and about different topics. Remember to use visual cues and be open about your hearing rather than guessing or pretending you have heard them. This helps to raise awareness and reduce stigma as well as helping you feel included and avoiding any embarrassment from incorrect guesses.
Take a quiet break whenever you start to feel tired or overwhelmed. This can function as a reset for your brain and ears by just relaxing for a few minutes. Be guided by how you feel and don’t over do it.
Try to set your hearing aids up in advance, experiment with settings by going to populated places outdoors. Get to learn the functions of your device and download any apps that would be useful too. You may also find that accessories such as FM systems may be helpful.
Above all, it can help to approach social functions with a sense of humor. Mishaps may well happen, but if you have realistic expectations and you can laugh them away you will get much more enjoyment from the event.
Socialising and sunshine are both fantastic for your wellbeing, so embrace the opportunities this summer. If you have any concerns or you would like your hearing checked before an event, get in touch with the Clear Wave Hearing team today. Call 507-208-7002 or click here.