The dating scene can be daunting for anyone- but if you have hearing loss, it can be even more stressful. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to prepare for a first date to ensure that your hearing loss won’t get in the way. Here are some tips and tricks for dating with hearing loss.
1) Check and clean your hearing aids
If you want to be at your best on your date, you need your hearing aids to be at their best too. This would be a good time to ensure that your aids are working well and are free from wax or other issues. If the date is particularly important, you might even visit your audiologist beforehand to have the aids tested and tweaked to your current hearing.
2) Choose the location and activity
If you can, suggest places that you know are ‘hearing friendly’. A cosy, quiet bistro would be a better (and more romantic!) option than a noisy, crowded bar. Outdoor dates can work very well on a still day, so you could suggest a picnic or a walk- this is especially nice during the pandemic when being outside in the fresh air is vital. You could even offer to cook at home- this will allow you to fully control the environment.
3) Get there early
If you’re meeting at a restaurant or bar, try to get there a few minutes early so that you can select the table. Try to choose a corner table away from the kitchen, bar, and any live music. Ensure that there is adequate lighting at the table so that you can see your date’s face. If the music is a bit loud, ask the manager if it can be turned down. If you need to, set your hearing aids to their ‘noisy environment’ program, or adjust the directionality of your microphones if your aids have this feature. That way, you’re less likely to need to fiddle with your hearing aids, remote, or smartphone app once your date arrives.
4) Ask for repetition when needed
If you misheard something, be upfront and ask them to repeat themselves rather than pretending to have heard. You don’t want to ‘fake it’ and say something you don’t mean, especially when trying to get to know someone new. If it’s a slightly more serious date, you wouldn’t want to ignore if they are sharing something personal or important, so rather ask them to repeat or rephrase.
5) Tell them about your loss if you feel comfortable
Some people choose to disclose their hearing loss to a potential date before or during the first date. This can help the other person to understand if you have difficulty, and can also lead to a very interesting conversation. Many people have little to no experience with hearing loss, so they may have questions. If you feel comfortable, tell them your story and answer any questions they may have. You would probably rather tell your date about your hearing aids before they discover them on their own! You also don’t want to appear inattentive or as though you are hiding something if you need to adjust your hearing instruments.
Dating with hearing loss doesn’t have to be any more daunting- follow these tips and you’ll be able to be yourself with confidence in the dating scene! If you have any questions or stories about dating with hearing loss or hearing aids, comment below, or contact us.