Hearing loss can often be a social deterrent since people with hearing damage often feel isolated and left out during conversations at parties and social gatherings. Noisy environments coupled with sounds of clinking cutlery and multiple conversations can often be a nightmare for those who are hard of hearing. If you have hearing loss, you no longer need to fret about staying away or wondering how you’ll fit in if you take these few simple steps.
Take preparations ahead of time and decide where you would like to be seated when you get to your gathering. Ideally speaking, taking a seat at the center of the table at a dinner party can help you hear conversations from both ends of the table better. If you have a say in the venue selection, make sure you select one with very minimal background music. Even choosing the day and time can make a huge difference. Usually choosing weekdays and afternoon times are best at avoiding rush hours, which means less noise to deal with.
Make sure you choose a table that is far away from the kitchens or the music speakers. Find hidden tricks such as restaurants that have carpeting, curtains, or table cloths that can absorb extraneous noise.
Every party has a quiet spot; it’s just a matter of finding it. If you feel overwhelmed at any point of time, simply take a walk to the patio or find a spot that is not as crowded so that you can have better chances of enjoying a face to face conversation. Always sit facing the speaker so that you can use additional facial cues and nonverbal signs to help you follow conversations better.
One of the major problems that people with hearing loss face is the problem of isolation. This often happens due to the inability to admit to their hearing loss and being unable to let others know what their unique hearing requirements are. Your friends and family may be more than willing to accommodate your hearing needs if you give them a fair chance. Talk to them beforehand and let them know about the types of situations that make you uncomfortable and what they can do to help you out.
Once you become more relaxed about your hearing loss, chances are that the people around you will feel more relaxed to have a conversation with you. Never be afraid of asking others to speak up or repeat themselves if necessary. Hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of, and once you overcome the awkwardness about your condition, others will feel freer around you and will be able to help keep you in the loop during conversations.
Many people with hearing loss do not wear their hearing aids regularly since they feel like their hearing is not “that bad.” This can often be a mistake and can contribute to feelings of isolation and reluctance to attend social events. Hearing aids help you hear better and can facilitate productive communication skills, so it is always recommended that you wear your hearing aids each time you attend social events. This way you will have far more fulfilling conversations and be able to remain an active participant at your social gathering. This goes back to accepting your hearing loss; once you accept it, you take the power away from anyone else that can potentially make you feel bad about it.
Most of all, just remember to be yourself and relax so that you can enjoy every moment. Always give your brain adequate rest by stepping out if you feel overwhelmed. Be clear about what type of social settings you are comfortable with and do not be afraid to turn down events that are way beyond your comfort level. Social gatherings are about enjoying yourself and not about pushing your limits. Overall, be kind to yourself and step out of your social isolation. You may be pleasantly surprised when you find out that you may actually be the life of the party!
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