Five Tips For Dating With Hearing Loss

Dating can be tough under any circumstances – what to wear, where to go, wondering if there will be a second date. Especially in today’s world of online dating where profile pictures are everything and computer algorithms are doing much of the matching.

What if you have a hearing loss? That can make things even more complicated. Should you talk about your hearing loss upfront? How does it impact the types of dates that work best? How should you communicate between dates?

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Many of my friends with hearing loss say that if they cannot hear someone well on the first date, there is never a second date. Perhaps she speaks softly or he covers his mouth with his hands. This may seem a bit harsh, but it is probably smart. Most people don’t change the way they speak, so why start something that will only lead to frustration and heartache down the road.

But don’t give up hope! Here are some tips for successful dating with hearing loss.

1. Location, location, location. The environment is probably the most important condition for a successful date. Don’t be shy about suggesting the location of the date. Scope out good spots well beforehand, so you will be prepared when a dating opportunity arises. Look for venues (restaurants, bars, coffee shops) that are quieter, have good acoustics, and are well lit (to help with lip reading). Hotel bars often work well.

2. Be creative with date ideas. A walk in the park or a dinner or game night at home can be a romantic and unexpected date. It will be much quieter than a night out and may be more memorable since it is out of the ordinary.

3. Arrive to the date early. This is most important if the date is at a restaurant or bar. Pick a spot in the corner, away from the kitchen and any noisy tables. I always like to have a wall behind me if possible. You can also ask the manager to turn down the volume of any background music. Sometimes they will.

4. When to disclose your hearing loss? This is a personal decision, but most of the people I know are upfront about it from the start. They post it on their online dating profiles and let their dates know that they might ask them to repeat themselves because of their hearing loss. It is important for your dates to understand this, otherwise they may think you are rude or are tuning them out if you respond to something in a funny way. Plus, it is going to come out at some point. Why not screen out those that cannot handle it from the very start.

5. Communication between dates. Some people love to talk on the phone. With hearing loss, video chat via Skype or FaceTime may be a better option so you can see the person’s mouth. Texting and email also work well, but are less personal.

With or without a hearing loss, dating has its ups and down. But when armed with these tips, a positive attitude, and persistence, you might just find love around the next corner.

Readers, what tips do you have for successfully dating with hearing loss?

This post first appeared on The Starkey Blog

Living With Hearing Loss is also on Facebook and Twitter

7 thoughts on “Five Tips For Dating With Hearing Loss

  1. I remember when my now husband and I started dating. He was worried about how my hearing loss would effect our relationship especially as I was transitioning from hearing aids to cochlear implants. He stood by my side and is still by my side and my #1 supporter! It isn’t always easy for him!

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  2. My stepmother started dating again and her hearing loss was an obstacle. She had found that texting is a good way to converse and doesn’t stress her out as much.

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  3. Dating is already hard enough for us males who are rightfully expected to take the initiative, but when adding the development of learned helplessness associated with the development of a sense of social inadequacy or even inferiority after years of struggling to hear and navigate noisy environments and soft spoken, mumbling folks, which many of us hard of hearing folks don’t really recognize [we tend to blame ourselves rather than to see that people do tend to mumble and speak softly] it is no wonder that it becomes an enormous challenge from within as well as from without.

    It is so easy to think there is something wrong with us, that there is no use trying, that it just takes too much energy, and even to think we don’t like people in general. The desire for friendship deadens because the frustration has become so great over time.

    The normal struggle of everyone to just relax and go with the flow, coming up with topics to talk about, keeping up with conversational flow, and just being ourselves becomes magnified.

    The confidence is there, it just needs to be discovered, chiseled out. The tips here in this article are very helpful. I imagine that there also has to be a coming to terms with our limitations and make the adjustments. I, as someone who values quality time with others, need to adjust my expectations of having a good conversation with a ton of background noise. I need to remind myself that even good hearing folks struggle in that environment too. Hey, who would have thought!

    I’m not gonna lie, I’m still trying to come to terms and it definitely has affected me in this area. It is so easy to push people away or become defensive or even haughty as a compensation for my longstanding feelings of social inadequacy, but I will overcome. We can do this.

    I like to actually disclose what I thought I heard someone say, which usually ends up with us laughing outloud because it’s close to what was said, but doesn’t quite fit the conversation. There are a lot of laughs to be had here. If who I’m with isn’t able to laugh then just move on. It’s okay. Just try again later. I think the laughter helps to then have the other repeat what they said without it feeling like a chore.

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