Summertime is the season of social gatherings. With these events comes hosting and with hosting comes a responsibility to cater to all your guests, including those with hearing loss. Parties and larger social gatherings can be some of the more challenging events in the social calendar of someone with hearing loss. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to go, or they dislike these events, it just means that with a little consideration around the event, the host can make it a much more enjoyable and less daunting experience.
Being aware and considerate of every guest’s needs is the sign of a great host. Here are some ways you can help your guests, with hearing loss, enjoy the festivities to the fullest.
When thinking about the set-up of the party be wary of seating arrangements that will not allow people to look at each other’s faces, and more importantly lips, when speaking to each other. This will help your guest view social cues and also lip-read and it will minimise the level of effort and energy usually required to understand fellow guests.
Talk to your guests beforehand
Contact your guests and ask them what you can do to make the event more pleasant for them. You will be surprised at how grateful and cooperative they will be.
Keep the music volume low
Try keep music and external noise low. Trying to hear other guests will be hard enough without added noise. If you do wish to play loud music, look at the possibility of setting up another section of the party where the music is the lowest.
Give guests some time out
Keep an eye out for guests that need to take a time out. It can be tiring in social situations for those who experience hearing loss. Don’t try to push them into re-joining the party, just give them space and be aware of them. Do not take it personally.