Hearing Loss Friendly Dinner

How to Have a Hearing Loss Friendly Dinner this Holiday Season

While the holiday season is the perfect time to get together with family and friends, holiday dinners and functions can be challenging for those with hearing loss. It’s not unheard of for a person with impaired hearing to skip the festivities all together because they can be exhausting and overwhelming. Events and large dinners can be stressful for anyone, but when you have a hearing impairment, this difficulty becomes amplified, for the affected person, as well as for the host. While you may think this scenario is a recipe for disaster, luckily, it’s easier than you think to have a hearing loss friendly dinner this holiday season.

During the holidays, it is necessary to have a hearing loss friendly dinner or meal if one or more of your guests have impaired hearing and wear hearing aids. Luckily there are a few easy ways to ensure that your holiday dinner is inclusive and is comfortable for all that attend.

For the Host:

Break up the space (as best you can) to help cut down on the level of background noise. You can do this by making one area for eating, another area for dancing and mingling, one for watching television, an area for the children, as well as an area that is designated for quiet conversation. Doing this will spread out the guests and can help make the space a bit more hearing-friendly.

If you plan on giving speeches, make sure you have a microphone available to use. Using a microphone will help ensure that everyone can hear you. If you are hosting a huge party and your guests with hearing loss use a t-coil enabled hearing aid, connect a portable hearing loop to the microphone, so your hearing impaired guests can listen in.

Don’t crack up the music and keep the lights dim if you have a guest with hearing loss, or keep it to another area. Dim lighting and loud music can make it difficult for a person with impaired hearing to communicate with others. When the noise level is high, communication can become almost impossible, and when the lighting is dim, it makes the ability to read lips difficult. So keep the lights bright, and the music down.

For the Hearing Impaired Guest:

Make sure you take breaks, as many as you need so that you can get some quiet time. Socializing and listening to everyone around you can be exhausting, especially if you are a new hearing aid user, so be gentle on yourself and retreat when you need to. Having quiet time to rest your ears and brain will keep you refreshed and energized for each round of socializing.

Don’t be afraid to ask others to repeat or rephrase themselves, and don’t be shy about letting others know that you are hard of hearing. Having a hearing impairment is extremely common, and affects many people as they age, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Generally, people will not have a problem repeating what they said or adjusting the way that they speak when they know ahead of time about your impaired hearing.

Don’t forget to have a sense of humor and be easy on yourself. Parties can be loud, very loud, so it’s natural for mishearing’s to happen. Mishearing happens to everyone, not just to those with hearing loss, so be patient and gentle on yourself, and don’t forget to laugh. Humor can bring more positivity to a situation and can keep your spirits lifted throughout the event.

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