With the quarantine years now in the rearview mirror, we are now living with some residue of the era. Our culture shifted fundamentally in some ways that are here to stay, like the work from home movement. We’ve also become a nation more interested in the outdoors. And while the summer months have long been viewed as a chance to enjoy the ambiance of a backyard party, they are becoming more popular than ever, perhaps due to the impact of Covid restrictions and the change in personal habits.
Unfortunately, outdoor parties present a unique challenge to folks with hearing loss and you may have found yourself passing on backyard BBQs in an effort to avoid the frustration. Instead, read up on a few strategies that can ease the struggle of an outdoor event and don’t let hearing loss dampen the fun of summer parties.
Group Gatherings Have Issues
For millions of Americans, RSVP-ing for a group gathering brings a certain amount of trepidation. Large social events can present significant hurdles to easy conversation. One of the earliest signs of hearing loss is difficulty understanding what people are saying, or speech clarity. More bodies means louder volumes, as people naturally raise their voices to be heard over increased competing noise. This can make understanding conversation even more challenging than usual for people with hearing loss, as the amount of interfering background noise they must wade through in order to hold a conversation gets amped up considerably.
Why An Outdoor Party Is Intimidating For People With Hearing Loss
Taking the party outdoors can deepen the anxiety people with hearing loss feel about attending a large gathering. Seating arrangements are often configured on the fly, and people tend to spread out quite a bit more when they’re outside. This makes finding a close conversation space conducive to understanding each other an issue.
Moreover, few private homes are equipped with sophisticated audio systems. Most music found at a backyard event comes from a bluetooth speaker or two blasting away at maximum volume, adding to the cacophonous elements. Or what’s worse, there could be a live band to compete with!
Orchestrate Your Best Scenario
However, there are ways to prepare yourself for an outdoor, large group gathering that can alleviate trepidation for those with hearing loss.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
If you’re already a wearer of hearing aids, don’t forget your ear’s best friends! Ensure your hearing aids are fully charged in advance, too.
Scope Out A Quiet Spot
Seat yourself well away from the source of music, be it speakers or live performance. If possible, sit with your back against a wall or fence, so that you’ve further eliminated noise-interfering factors. Remember that the bar, kitchen or food tables will be high traffic areas and steer clear of those, as well.
Maximize Your Visuals
When living with hearing loss, your sight can provide a strong support when engaging in conversation. Facial expressions and mouth movements can provide important context. And, sound travels best in a straight path, so placing yourself in front of the person or people you are speaking with aids in amplifying the sound you want to hear to better reach your ears.
If you’re seated at a table per designated assignments, move any flower arrangements or centerpieces that are in your line of vision, preventing you from seeing other peoples faces. When choosing your own seating, don’t be afraid to move chairs around so that you’re in a circle versus to the side of a conversation partner. Better lighting can also help to illuminate peoples faces to provide you with the important additional context clues.
Rope Your Host Into Helping
Most people throwing a party are thrilled to hear tidbits about you that will make your experience at their event more enjoyable. Tell your host about your hearing loss and explain that outdoor events, and large groups in particular, cause you some trepidation. If you feel comfortable, let them know a few concrete ways they can help. This might include seating you away from speakers or noise sources or designating a quiet space for you to socialize (or even retreat, if needed) within their home or outside. Presumably, they also know everyone they’ve invited, so they can make wise choices about finding you amicable guests to introduce you to for an easy chat.
Reach Out For Help
If you haven’t already investigated your hearing health, why not schedule a consultation today? There are proven, successful interventions that can significantly help ease the burden of hearing loss. Get in touch with our team to get started on your journey to better hearing.