Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air! Flowers and chocolates and romantic greeting cards are filling the retail aisles with anticipation of joining you and your loved one on a perfect Valentine’s date. But for couples who are affected by hearing loss, date night is not always romance and roses. Many challenges present themselves to over 48 million Americans who are affected by hearing loss, including engaging in one-on-one conversation in noisy environments.
You want to be attentive to your date, as you expect them to be attentive to you. Most importantly, you want to have FUN! If you or your loved one is experiencing hearing loss, here are a few tips to help you boost your connection this Valentine’s day:
- Wear your hearing aids. Always keep a package of batteries handy.
- Pick a quiet place. If you are going out to dinner, choose a quiet restaurant. When you make a reservation, request a quiet table in the corner or away from the kitchen or large parties. If background music is playing, be sure you’re seated away from loud speakers.
- Theater seats matter. If you’re going to a movie or a theater, try to pick seats that are towards the front and in the center. If the theatre doesn’t allow you to choose your seats ahead of time, try to show up early to avoid a frustrating situation. Some theaters have systems that help broadcast the sound into special hearing aids.
- First date prep. If this is a first date, try to anticipate the context of potential conversation. Scan the headlines or do some research on what they are interested in. Whether it’s you or your date who is struggling with hearing loss, being able to figure out what your date is talking about quickly eases conversational stress. If you are the one with hearing loss and you aren’t sure how to talk about it, try preparing a “script.” There are many online resources, such as “How to Tell Others About Your Hearing Loss” that can help you.
- Don’t Stress. Remember, conversation will be difficult to follow sometimes, and that’s ok. Try to relax! The worst thing you can do is stress out when you can’t hear everything. The goal isn’t to hear everything; it’s to make a meaningful connection with someone. Encourage openness and honesty, and if someone is struggling move closer or change venues. Pretending to understand everything when you can’t will only cause you to miss out in the long run!