Preparing for the Holidays: When a Guest Suffers from Hearing Loss
The holidays are a time for laughter, frolicking and fun! We plan parties and put together guest lists, shopping lists, gift lists, to-do lists, schedules and more. We want to make sure that everything is just right, which, of course, includes making accommodations for each and every guest, from weird Uncle Ralph to kind Aunt Melanie.
Regardless how colorful the characters or how boring the personalities are, it is possible that a few people on your guest list are hearing impaired. Uncle Ralph’s eccentricities are beside the point, so here are a few pointers on making the holidays a bit easier for your more normal guests who can’t hear as well as the rest of us can.
If you are talking to a hearing-impaired guest in the middle of a loud, riotous room, chances are likely that he or she will not understand what you’re saying, at first. This person probably struggles on a daily basis to understand speech in the best of circumstances, so be patient in a loud room. You’ll earn a mountain of respect.
Speak Clearly and Enunciate
The first sounds of speech that are lost, in the initial stages of hearing loss, are the soft consonants like f, h, s and t. Someone who’s hearing impaired will understand you more easily when you speak the syllables of your words more clearly, rather than when you just speak louder.
Face Your Audience
Whenever you speak to your guest, be sure to face him or her. Sometimes, people who are hearing impaired supplement the sounds they hear with reading lips, which can be especially helpful in a loud room.
Wait on the Chores
The clattering sound of dishes banging together will likely detract from your guest’s enjoyment, because the noise will cut into the sound of any conversation he or she may be involved in.
Plan Ahead for the Sake of Privacy
If your guest is spending the night, be sure to agree, beforehand, on a proper wake-up call. This is vital, because if your guest wears hearing aids and takes them out at night, he or she may not hear a simple knock upon, or even a shout through the door.
The accommodations you can make for someone with hearing loss won’t require much effort at all, but they will warm your guest’s heart this holiday season, and the respect you will earn will last a lifetime.