PARTY Your Way to Better Hearing
Holiday Season! For better or worse, ready or not, it’s here! My family and I love this time of year. I can’t help getting excited when walking into a store decorated for the holidays. Starting with Halloween pumpkins and skeletons changing overnight to Christmas trees and wreaths. I love walking into people’s carefully decorated homes and smelling fresh baked pumpkin pie. I for one will spend hours decorating cakes and cookies until they are just right and my hands start to cramp up. There are also endless parties and celebration full of delightful appetizers, wine, and good company. With all this holiday cheer comes a few extra pounds, and for those of us with hearing loss some anxiety.
Parties, whether for the holidays or any other celebration, are bound to have many conversations going at once with music or a television on as well. This creates a lot of background noise which may be difficult for someone with normal hearing but can be a nightmare for those with hearing loss.
So, what can be done? First make sure to wear your hearing aids as they will help to amplify the speech more than the surround noises. Then try to incorporate some communication strategies listed here.
To help you remember I created an acronym: PARTY!!!
P=Place yourself in the quietest area. Do not try to talk in front of a stereo or TV speaker.
A=Angle yourself away from the noise. Putting the majority of the noise behind you allows the directional microphones to do their job, focusing in on the speech in front and soften the noise behind you.
R=Repeat what you heard. Chances are if you misheard something it was just one or two words. If you repeat back what you heard the person speaking can focus their effort on what you misheard rather than repeating everything again.
T=Two sets of ears are better than one. If you are attending a party with a spouse or good friend, employ them as your extra set of ears. Topics can change quickly sometimes without rhyme or reason. When this happens have your spouse or friend give you clever hints to make sure you are following the switch. Just knowing the topic helps as it pulls to mind a specific set of words or ideas that may come up. If your discussing the game you may expect to hear the word “score” where as if your talking about home improvement you may expect to hear “floor”. Both of these words start with soft voiceless consonants that can be lost in the background noise. If you know the topic you are better equipped to guess at the word even if you did not hear it correctly.
Y=Yes, I’ll have more wine. When all else fails just have your mouth too full to answer, or at least long enough to buy you enough time to figure out what was said.