Independence Day is here and that means it’s time for all those fun-packed parades, fancy fireworks and sizzling barbecues. It’s also precious time to catch up with old friends and family you haven’t seen in a while, and all those jokes and sometimes hilarious arguments that happen when everyone gets together. It should be a day to look forward to but for loved ones with hearing loss, it can actually be a day to dread. The cacophony of sounds can leave them feeling isolated and adrift, unable to catch what anyone is saying. You can make a difference.
Here are a few tips from us at Selective Hearing on how to make Independence Day an enjoyable event for those who are hard of hearing.
Bye bye background music
Adding background music to an already busy room of chatter makes it that much harder for loved ones with hearing loss to understand what is being said around them. Turn it off and you’ll see that with all the conversation, hardly anyone will notice its absence.
Maybe dodge the huge parties and make this year a more intimate family gathering. A smaller seating arrangement with less people will make it much easier for everyone to hear each other.
If you know a loved one is hard of hearing, ask them how you can help make their experience of the celebrations easier. They’ll know best and it will let them know that you are willing to make adjustments that they otherwise may feel awkward asking for.
Take a break from tidying up
Leave doing the dishes and washing those glasses until later. Clattering dishes in the kitchen can be distracting and hard for someone with hearing loss to tune out.
Watching the game can often draw in a crowd of hollering guests. So, if you can, arrange some seating in a quieter corner of the house where anyone not into the game can chat. Try to make sure that your loved one with hearing loss is seated so they can see everyone else’s faces. This makes it easier for them to hear what is being said and to pick up on non-verbal cues.
These small changes can make a big impact on anyone who is hard of hearing. So why not give it a try this Independence Day?
An Abbeville, Louisiana native, Dr. Thom realized her love for speech, language, and hearing while taking a speech pathology class her junior year at LSU. After completing a bachelor of arts in communications disorders, that love persisted, and Dr. Thom graduated in 2011 with a clinical doctorate in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Thom continues to make sounds and language more accessible to her patients and likes to learn about their unique hearing and communication needs. An active member of the Louisiana Academy of Audiology, she has been serving as a board member for two years, and was the 2016-17 President of LAA.