Holding Parties With Hearing Impaired Friends & Family

Spending time with friends and family during the holiday season is one of the best things about the holidays. However, for those experiencing hearing loss, the holidays can bring feelings of anxiety as they prepare to attend family gatherings or workplace parties.

Those with hearing loss may feel afraid of busy holiday gatherings and the conversational struggles such get-togethers may bring. That's why it's important to plan holiday gatherings, whether at the home or office, that will make everyone feel welcome, hearing impaired individuals included.
The following is a list of things to consider when planning your party.

1. Different parts of the space can be used for different activities.

Sometimes it's helpful to physically separate activities such as dancing, eating and personal conversation. Be sure to set aside space for each activity, ensuring that the zone reserved for conversation is quiet enough for those who are hard of hearing.

2. Turn the lights up and the music down.

Music is a great way to make people feel comfortable and keep them in the mood to party– and maybe even dance! However, this can be a daunting experience for those who are hearing impaired. To ensure your loved one is comfortable, be sure to turn the lights up so they can clearly see faces and read lips while carrying on a conversation. In addition, be sure to keep music at a moderate level so your loved ones can enjoy themselves while maintaining the ability to converse without shouting. 

3. Watch for the loner in the corner.

Any good host should be able to read their party attendees. If you see someone alone, walk over and make them feel comfortable. Engage them in conversation to keep them happy and involved.

4. Provide a microphone for speeches.

Holiday parties often include toasts or other speeches. Whenever possible, utilize a microphone so that everyone can hear the person speaking. For larger or more extravagant parties, consider providing a hearing aid accessory so your guests with hearing loss can listen right from their hearing aids.

5. Allow your guests to take breaks.

Don’t be upset if someone with hearing loss retreats to a quiet area for a period of time during your event. Taking an opportunity to rest can do a lot to prepare someone with hearing loss for another round of socializing.

6. Have realistic expectations.

Even if you have planned everything out, your holiday experience may not turn out perfect. That's okay! Enjoy the party, make some holiday memories and relish the time you spend with friends and family!

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