As the world emerges from its pandemic bubble, we must all learn to socialize again. For people with hearing loss, this means learning to ‘hear’ again in difficult listening situations like cocktail parts and other groups events. In this article for HHTM, I share my tips for rebuilding your hearing loss party skills post-pandemic.
An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.
Socializing Tips for People with Hearing Loss
Now that socializing has picked up, the training for people with hearing loss begins. We must remember how to narrow our focus to the speaker directly in front of us. We must teach our brain to ignore the drone of background conversation and to pace ourselves to combat hearing loss exhaustion. Here are some tips for socializing with hearing loss.
1. Arrive early and well rested
Arriving early will help you get a lay of the land and identify the most hearing-friendly locations in the space. This may be a quiet corner in a carpeted area or a remote spot away from the music. It also provides an opportunity to request that your host switch your seat at the table or lower the music in one area of the space.
Arrive with energy since it will certainly be required for communication. If the party is at the end of the day, try to schedule some down time in between events as a respite for your brain.
2. Take breaks to recharge your batteries
Hearing in noise takes concentration and brain power. As we rebuild our stamina—and even when it returns—remember to take breaks to restore energy. Slip away to the kitchen or outside for a quick walk to give your eyes and brain a rest from lipreading and other communication enhancement activities. Or try mindful breathing to refresh and recharge.
3. Advocate for your needs
We may be used to asking for captions on Zoom calls, but we may be out of practice in asking people to use communication best practices when speaking with us in person. And people may be out of practice themselves coming out of their Covid cocoon!
Ask people to face you when they speak to you and to keep their mouths uncovered so it easier for you to use speechreading cues. Ask people to speak one at a time, which can be challenging in the overlapping conversation pattern of a cocktail party. It won’t be perfect at first but asking will get easier with time.
For more tips keep reading on HHTM.
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