First dates are stressful enough. Add hearing loss into the mix and you might decide living the life of a hermit is the easier choice. But there’s no need to shy away from a fun evening out and getting to know somebody better. Even if you’re in a committed relationship, the occasional date night is a great way to keep the romance alive, and a much-needed break from the daily routine. Hearing loss does not have to put a damper on your dating life; with a little extra preparation, you can have a great time.
The following tips should help:
- Remember, location is everything. Probably the most important factor in making sure your date is successful involves the location. Whether you’re going to a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop, you’ll want to choose a place that is relatively quiet. It might not be a bad idea to check it out for yourself first, especially if it’s a venue where you have never been before. Another factor to consider is lighting, especially if you rely on lip reading. If all else fails, suggest a romantic evening at home; there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal to impress a potential paramour.
- Make an early reservation. Restaurants tend to be most crowded later in the evening. Go early to beat the crowds, and you’ll be rewarded with a quieter atmosphere (not to mention the possibility of scoring an excellent Happy Hour deal). Getting there early will also increase your chances of finding a good table away from the noise (e.g., kitchen or loudspeakers). If you are unable to arrive early, you can always request a quiet booth in the corner when making your reservation.
- Suggest alternatives to the traditional “dinner and a movie.” As mentioned above, a quiet date at home is often more pleasing than a night out on the town. If watching a movie there, you can turn on the closed-captioning or subtitles feature. An added bonus: no sticky floors from spilled soda! Other options include a hike, visit to the beach, or picnic in the park. Breaking out of the mold is sure to impress your date and win you points for originality.
- Wear your hearing devices with confidence. The stigma that once accompanied hearing devices is long gone. If you wear them, don’t try to hide that fact; chances are your date will be curious about them, opening up an interesting conversational topic. It’s better to wear your hearing devices and have a good time, instead of straining to hear what your date is saying and possibly misunderstanding key information.
- Don’t be afraid to provide communication tips. Remember, you’re both there to have a good time; your date will appreciate the opportunity to make it easier for you to follow along. You might want to mention maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly, and not talking while chewing. That last one applies to everybody regardless of their hearing ability!