Dating can seem daunting enough without other factors in your life coming into play. There’s the matter of chemistry, communication, and compatibility. When you have hearing loss, it can feel like one more thing you have to worry about while dating. Will they be understanding? Can they adapt to having a hard-of-hearing person in their life? There are a hundred questions you could ask beforehand, but many of those might just make you anxious.
Instead, you can focus on presenting yourself in a comfortable, natural light. While making a good first impression is the goal, it’s also important that you feel good about yourself. No matter what, your hearing loss does not define you or make you un-dateable. That being said, here are some tips to improve your experience while dating.
Dating With Hearing Aids
When you’re preparing for a date, whether it’s your first or your fifth, it’s important to remember your wellbeing. Do you feel confident about the date? If not, what’s making you uneasy? In order to put your best foot forward, you have to prepare yourself. After choosing a date and location for your meet-up, here’s a quick checklist to make sure your outing goes well.
• Is the venue accessible? While loud bars and parties might be popular dating scenes, especially for young people, you might be better off going with a restaurant or walk in the park. These locations are better for hearing overall and much easier for those with hearing loss or hearing aids.
• Are your hearing aids charged and ready? The last thing you want is to run out of battery during your date. If you’re feeling unsure about your battery status, slip a new battery in or charge them before leaving.
• Do you feel comfortable asking them to repeat themselves? It’s natural that you might miss things or struggle to understand someone. In these cases, you should feel comfortable asking them to repeat themselves. If your date acts frustrated or responds with things like “nevermind”, they might not be worth your time.
• Don’t get discouraged. If the date goes badly, or you just don’t click with the person in question, don’t feel bad about yourself. Not every first date goes well, and not every relationship you start will last. The important thing is that you put yourself forward. If you had the confidence to do it once, you’ll have the confidence to do it again in the future.
How Hearing Aids Can Improve Your Interactions
If you’re currently without hearing aids, you might be curious about how hearing aids can improve your relationships. Many people who lip-read or use sign language could find it easier to communicate with hearing aids, but avoid them for personal reasons. Luckily, the technology of hearing aids has improved immensely, and you might find that you’re more compatible with them now.
In fact, most people who began using hearing aids reported that their relationships and interactions with other people improved after being fitted. This includes their professional interactions, friendships, and romantic relationships.
Worried about how you’ll look or sound with hearing aids? Don’t be. Many hearing aids offer Own Voice Processing, or OVP, to improve how you hear yourself. The sound of your voice is pinpointed and processed separately, so you can speak without disliking the sound of your own voice. Many people who used OVP-capable hearing aids found that they were able to accept their voice faster than with other hearing aids.
Tips for Dating Someone With Hearing Aids
We’ve gone over what it’s like to be a person with hearing aids, but what is it like to be someone who dates a hard-of-hearing person? If you’re doing research to better understand your date, it’s obvious that you care about how they feel, and want to make a good impression. Here are some tips on how to improve your date’s experience, and be a good companion for them.
• Be understanding. The most frustrating thing about dating for hard-of-hearing people is the lack of understanding. When people are rude or overly polite, it can feel isolating. Listen to what they ask of you, and be understanding when they ask for certain things, like a quiet venue or certain seating arrangement.
• Speak clearly. This is the best thing you can do. Mumbling, speaking too quickly, and jumping topics can be confusing for people without hearing loss, so you can imagine how frustrating it might be for your hard-of-hearing date. Enunciate yourself, but don’t talk like you’re speaking to a child.
• Don’t act bothered when you’re asked to repeat yourself. To you, the words “whatever” or “nevermind” might just be a way to avoid repeating yourself. To a hard-of-hearing person, they’re a sign that you’re not willing to make accommodations for them. Be patient when they ask you to repeat yourself; they’re just trying to understand you.
• Plan ahead. If your date doesn’t choose a venue ahead of time, try to pick a place that is hearing-loss friendly. Quiet restaurants, scenic parks, and coffee shops are all good places to start. If you’re at a loss, try asking them for their preferences.
• Don’t play hero. Your date has survived this long without you, they don’t need to be saved. While you should try to be understanding and make accommodations, don’t be overbearing. Let them speak for themselves, and don’t coddle them.
Make This Valentine’s Day Memorable
Whether you’ve been dating for months or just starting your relationship, Valentine’s Day is a couple’s holiday. You can make it special with a nice dinner or a simple gesture of appreciation. Regardless of what you do, you should feel confident while doing it. If you have hearing loss or are a hearing aid wearer who would like more tips and information, contact Speech and Hearing Associates by phone at 1-800-742-7551 or by email at [email protected].