In general, dating can be nerve-wracking. Adding hearing loss to the mix can make it downright intimidating. Maybe you’re unsure as to when you should mention your hearing loss.
It’s one thing to experience the complexities of dealing with hearing loss in everyday situations, but those feelings can intensify while navigating your dating life.
To make dating easier for someone with hearing loss, follow these guidelines and feel confident enough to advocate for yourself.
1. Remind yourself that you are more than your hearing loss. If you’re feeling apprehensive, talk to friends and family about this situation to regain assurance about the best parts of yourself.
2. Be upfront and honest with others. Most dating initially happens online these days, and you might not feel comfortable sharing certain information on your online profile. The truth will eventually slip out as the relationship deepens. So it’s useless to lie about something as important as your hearing health. Being honest about it and seeing the person’s response would help you understand if they have enough compassion and whether they are open to learning how to better communicate with you. You also have the choice of waiting to bring up your hearing loss to find out whether there’s a genuine interest between you two. If the first chats or dates happen online, carefully look at the accessibility options. Every service offers different access options for live-captioning and noise reduction.
3. Find what works best for you. If you don’t like navigating through dating sites made for the general public, there are different ones specifically for deaf or hard-of-hearing singles. It can be easier and more comfortable to hang out with other people who experience difficulty with their hearing. With the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) and Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), there’s a good chance of finding friendships. Local chapters are available so you can meet people in real life and possibly meet someone for a date.
4. Select a location for a date. When you decide to meet, find an optimal environment. Walking in the park or taking a leisurely hike lets you be active while learning more about each other. If you dine indoors, find a place with carpeting on the floors - maybe even on the walls. Upholstered furniture would be better than areas with hard surfaces. Go during off-hours - it will be quieter. Museums and botanical gardens are peaceful spots that will make communication easier. If you go to a movie, inform your date that you need captions. Maybe you’ll both be interested in seeing a foreign film.
5. Keep things fun, easy, and light. Don’t force yourself or your date to feel pressured into understanding everything all the time. Let your partner know they are not responsible for updating you about every detail in every situation. Missing things during conversations are bound to happen. Tell them not to stress out about it and hold them to it. Have a sense of humor about it. Laughing at yourself is a sign of maturity. Talk about a silly misunderstanding related to your hearing loss.
6. Keep up with good communication. A successful relationship requires expressing your needs and understanding your partner’s needs. Hearing and listening are two different things. There’s the physical aspect of hearing. There is also the awareness, sensitivity, and frequent clarification needed with listening. If you don’t feel comfortable communicating your needs to the person you date, move on to someone who will reciprocate your needs.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and need a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing.
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