Whether it’s a family reunion, company barbeque or holiday party with friends, there are many times throughout the year when you are expected to socialize with others. While spending time with friends and loved ones is something to be enjoyed, if you have hearing loss it can also cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Hearing loss makes it harder to understand speech and follow conversations. This can lead to feelings of frustration, embarrassment and even anger. It can even make you want to avoid being around other people.
Thankfully there are ways to make socializing easier with hearing loss.
Use Hearing Aids to Connect with Others
The best way to improve your ability to connect with others is to use hearing aids.
Research shows that 70% of patients with hearing loss reported improved communication after they started using hearing aids. Using hearing aids is associated with stronger relationships and higher levels of confidence in social situations.
Hearing aids make it easier to follow conversations, even in groups or with background noise. This makes socializing less stressful and allows you to enjoy being with others again.
Other Communication Tips
Even though hearing aids are a big help when it comes to communicating with others, you may still find yourself in situations where it is harder to hear. In that case, there are a few other things you can do to make it easier for yourself and those around you.
- Be honest about your hearing needs. Your family and friends want you to enjoy your time together. Let them know if there are ways to make it easier for you. That may include asking them to always face you when they are speaking or letting them know you need them to repeat or rephrase what they said.
- Find quiet places to socialize. If you’re at a party and there’s loud music in one room, head to a quieter room of the house with one or two people to and enjoy your conversation there. Also remember that not all socializing needs to be done in a big group of people or in loud environments. Take a walk with friends in one of the area’s many parks or enjoy coffee with a coworker at a quiet café.
- Make mealtimes more accessible. If you’re at a big family dinner, chances are there’s lots of noise and conversation. If possible, try to have a circular arrangement at the table as that makes it easier to listen. You can also have your partner or a close friend sit next to you to help catch you up on anything you might have missed.
- Be gentle with yourself. If you find yourself feeling tired or overwhelmed when socializing, that’s perfectly normal. Take some time to yourself. Try to embrace the silence and take it as an opportunity to recharge.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to keep you from others. Be proactive in your hearing health and communicate your needs so that you can feel confident in your ability to socialize.
If you are concerned about your hearing but have yet to make an appointment with a qualified audiologist at River ENT to get checked out, schedule one today.