The holiday season is beloved by many for its opportunities for relaxation, enjoyment, and new beginnings. It’s a time for families to come together at the dinner table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
However, it’s also common for Americans to celebrate these occasions in lively, boisterous gatherings. It’s important to keep in mind loved ones with hearing impairments during these festivities, as even seemingly harmless activities like setting off fireworks can cause discomfort. So, remember to be considerate of those with hearing loss and make sure they feel included in the holiday merrymaking!
The holiday season is for everyone!
Hosting parties and get-togethers is a wonderful way to reconnect with loved ones after an extended period apart. These gatherings offer relaxation and can inspire us for future endeavors. However, to ensure a successful event, party planners should consider details such as enjoyable activities, engaging conversation, drinks, and holiday-themed decorations. Often, we focus so much on creating the perfect ambiance with food and drinks that we forget a crucial element of any celebration – the comfort of our guests.
Have you ever inquired about the hearing health of your friends or colleagues? With the availability of modern hearing aids that can be discreetly placed inside the ear canal, such as in-the-canal devices, you may not even realize that someone you know is experiencing hearing loss. As a result, inviting them to a noisy gathering can create an uncomfortable and unpleasant environment for them. It’s important to address any communication difficulties with individuals who have hearing loss, as being in an uncomfortable auditory setting can hinder their ability to engage in conversation with others. This can ultimately lead to a negative impact on the holiday spirit and overall experience.
Based on statistical data, a significant number of Americans are affected by hearing impairments. Therefore, it’s highly probable that someone wearing a hearing aid may be in attendance at your house party. To ensure that everyone feels included and comfortable, it’s essential to plan ahead and organize a hearing loss-friendly event. This is precisely what we aim to achieve – promoting enjoyable and inclusive holiday parties that accommodate all guests, including those with hearing difficulties.
Tips for a hearing loss-friendly holiday party
If you have a family member who uses hearing aids, you’re likely familiar with the challenges of organizing gatherings that accommodate individuals with hearing difficulties. However, if you’re not well-versed in this area, we’re here to offer assistance. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro has curated a set of recommendations to aid you in hosting a party that ensures individuals with hearing loss feel welcomed and included. Take note of the following nuances as you prepare for the upcoming holiday season!
Take care of the holiday music in advance
What contemporary holiday celebration is without the inclusion of music and background noise? Even individuals without hearing impairments can become disoriented and overwhelmed by excessive noise. The situation can become even more uncomfortable for guests with hearing loss. To create a comfortable atmosphere for all attendees, consider playing music during the initial minutes of the party when guests are just arriving. Once everyone is seated at the dinner table, lower the volume or turn off the music completely to facilitate socializing and conversation. After all, the primary goal is to have a good time and enjoy each other’s company, right? There will be ample time to enjoy loud music later on!
Organize the dinner table properly
If you’re aware that one of your guests has hearing loss, take measures to create a comfortable dining experience for everyone. Consider setting up a round table instead of a square one, as it may be more comfortable for someone with limited mobility. Covering the table and closing the curtains can also help reduce outside noise and improve the quality of communication for those with hearing aids. These small adjustments can make a significant difference in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all guests.
Take note of the lighting in the room. If the area is dimly lit, consider turning on additional lights. Brighter lighting can improve the ease and comfort of communication for all involved.
Designate a room for a quiet place
During the holidays, sometimes it’s nice to have a moment of peace and quiet. Excessive noise and conversation can be exhausting, especially for those with hearing loss whose brains have to work harder in a noisy environment. Offering a designated “quiet zone” can be a great solution to give guests a chance to recharge and enjoy the festivities at their own pace. These tips aren’t just for lively gatherings with friends, but also for family dinners where there may be individuals with hearing loss. By following these recommendations, you can create a comfortable environment for all guests, including those with hearing aids, and ensure that everyone can fully participate in the celebration.
What should you do if you have hearing loss?
Hearing care professionalsadvise against remaining silent or feeling embarrassed about your hearing loss. If you feel uncomfortable at a party, let the organizer know and explain the specific issues you are experiencing. Perhaps the loud music or seating arrangement is causing difficulty. You can suggest possible solutions to resolve the problem quickly. Small changes like adjusting the volume or closing curtains can make a big difference in your ability to relax and enjoy the festivities. If you have hearing loss, inform the host in advance and let them know what accommodations you may need. This can prevent any unpleasant situations from arising, allowing you to have a happy and active social life!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]