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Learning & Information | Rukuhia Te Puna Mātauranga

Don’t let hearing loss ruin social occasions

Social occasions allow us to take a break and reconnect with family and friends, but they can be stressful for those who experience hearing loss.  Hearing therapist, Tracy Henderson, has some great tips to make social gatherings more enjoyable.

“Be honest. Let people know if you experience hearing loss, and what they can do to help. Let restaurant staff know as well,” says Tracy.

You should also think carefully when choosing a venue. Restaurants with carpet, curtains and tablecloths have better acoustics.  Ask to be seated in quieter areas away from the coffee machine, sound speakers or traffic noise.

“Forget romantic candlelight,” says Tracy. “We need to see a person’s face to be able to hear them best. Lip movements, facial expressions and body language are important visual cues.”

Make sure you are well rested before attending a function. It’s difficult to concentrate on conversations when you’re tired. If your hearing is better in one ear, position others on that side of you.  And, if you have a hearing aid or listening device, use it.

“Don’t bluff,” says Tracy. “This could get you into trouble and you could be missing out on interesting or important info.” Instead, ask others to clarify what they’ve said, and ask them to speak a little slower and louder.

Don’t avoid social occasions due to difficulty hearing. “Relax and enjoy the food and company, even if you don’t catch every word,” she says. “And don’t be embarrassed to laugh at your listening faux pas.”

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