As the end of the year is approaching us, we tend to have a lot of gatherings with our friends and families. When you do the hosting, you have to make sure the house is clean, the food is prepared, and all of the guests are happy. It is easier to accommodate dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan options for guests; but what about for hearing impaired guests? A study reported that “in the United States shows that 50% of all American gatherings have at least one person with hearing loss” and “30% of these families will contain a family member wearing hearing aids” (audiologicalservices.net). Knowing we have these individuals at our gatherings, it is important to take this into consideration when hosting event for the hearing impaired!
Here are some ways to help us with hosting events for the hearing impaired:
- Separate Areas: Individuals with hearing loss get frustrated with there are too many noises; especially ones that drown out the main speaker. At holiday gatherings, a majority of the time children account for these overpowering noises. Having a separate playroom or table away from individuals with hearing impairment for children can help separate these noises.
- Minimize Music: While holiday music is very favored, sometimes playing background music causes individuals with hearing impairments difficulty understanding others in the room. Either choose to not have music playing or have it playing only in one part of the house. This will allow individuals with hearing impairment the opportunity to communicate in an area with less noise.
- Use Lights: When it comes to hearing loss, of course the ability to hear is important, but also is seeing their communication partners. Keeping your holiday event well-lit allows individuals with hearing impairments to see facial expressions, visual cues, and hand gestures that can help contribute to conversations. While this is especially important for individuals with hearing impairment, it is also beneficial for guests with normal hearing too.
- Ask for Guidance: Another way to make sure your guests with hearing impairments are happy at your event is to ask them. You can ask them weeks prior to your event or at the event how you can make them comfortable. They may have suggestions like specific seating requirements or closed captioning on the television, but whatever it is make sure you are always to accommodate them.
Make sure you and your guests enjoy your holiday season. If you or a loved one are having ear or hearing difficulty, please contact your local audiologist or hearing care professional today!