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Social Gatherings and Hearing Loss

Interacting with people when you have hearing loss can be very frustrating.  If you don't have any hearing loss, it's difficult to understand but it can be especially trying to attend social gathering, dinners, parties and other activities such as plays, church services and more.  In fact, for those without hearing loss it can be difficult to hear in loud, noisy situations and doubly so (if not nearly impossible) for those who require hearing aids and lip-reading to engage.


If you are sitting down to have dinner with family and friends, select a seat that is best for you.


Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Seat yourself so that most of the people are on your "best" side.
  2. Avoid facing a window as the glare could make it difficult to see the faces of the people seated across from you making it harder to read lips.
  3. Sit with a buddy - that someone who understands how well you hear and has the patience to fill you in on what you miss.
  4. Try to maintain a distance of about 3-5 feet from the person you're talking to. Any closer and you'll have trouble reading their lips and if you get farther away, you'll have more trouble hearing & understanding them.
  5. Eliminate background noise. If you're at a person's home, politely ask them to turn down any background music or TV. No one wants to make a situation worse so simply explain your situation and ask for their cooperation.
  6. Ask people to speak more slowly, face you or speak more loudly if needed. Most people won't know what you need unless you tell them. Be patient and polite but remind them of your needs and it will eventually be more natural.
  7. If you're attending a concert or church service or other event, arrive early so you can select the best seat.


If you are someone who hears without difficulty, develop a little more empathy toward those who don't hear as well. Unless you've experienced being in a social setting where you can't hear and understand everyone, you really don't realize how frustrating it can be.


If, on the other hand, you have hearing loss, be clear and explain your needs to others - then, keep your sense of humor. People are going to forget that you don't hear as well as they do and may not seem as considerate as you'd like. Gently remind them and enjoy your time!

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