As the holiday season approaches, bringing with it joy and festive gatherings, individuals with hearing loss may find themselves facing social stress and potential feelings of exclusion at holiday work parties. With approximately 28.8 million adults potentially benefiting from hearing aids in the U.S., it’s important to think about taking proactive measures to create more enjoyable holiday work parties.
Embracing the Holiday Spirit
Preparing for work-related holiday parties involves the initial step of advocating for yourself and being prepared. Be ready to use your hearing aids. Adjust them to focus on speech while minimizing background noise. Consult with your hearing specialist if you need assistance doing so.
Advocating for yourself is an important step in ensuring you’re prepared for coming parties. You can begin by asking your place of work for accommodations. Companies can consider inclusivity by choosing quiet venues for events and steering away from bustling locations like Waldo’s Restaurant. Additionally, closed captioning for speeches and toasts can further improve accessibility.
When accommodations alone may not suffice, consider practical steps to enhance your experience at the next holiday work party:
- Utilize an assistive listening device: An assistive listening device can be worn as a loop around your neck with an amplifier that will send the sound directly to the loop.
- Face whoever is speaking: Position yourself facing the person you’re speaking with to better interpret lip movements and body language. Don’t hesitate to ask someone to repeat themselves.
- Use speech-to-text apps: Leverage your phone to convert speech-to-text using apps like TextHear. These apps can provide closed captioning to real-time conversations.
- Choose quiet spaces: Opt for quieter rooms away from bustling areas, such as the kitchen or where the music is being played. Outdoor venues or rooms with fabric elements like chairs, curtains or flooring offer softer acoustics, minimizing background noises.
- Take frequent breaks: Minimize listening fatigue by taking frequent breaks. This approach helps maintain energy levels for continued socializing.
If you’re gearing up for a holiday party and want to ensure your hearing is at its best or if you have questions about hearing aids, Aaron's Hearing Aid & Audiology Center is ready to assist. Schedule an appointment to make the most of the festive season with enhanced hearing clarity.