Contributed by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA
It’s that time of the year again: the time of the year when every retail shop suddenly dons the same red-and-pink color scheme, plasters hearts across the windows and unloads a truck full of chocolates and red roses right next to the check-out line. Whether or not you plan to shower your significant other with lavish goodies, make sure to also focus on the day’s true meaning: reconnecting with your other half. If you or your partner has hearing loss, carving out time to strengthen your communication skills is especially crucial.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be romantic, but you might lose sight of that if you’re struggling to hear one another. Keep hearing loss in mind when you’re making plans. Below are a few tips for making the most out of your special day this year.
Wear your hearing aids
This is perhaps an obvious tip, but you would be surprised at how many people who have hearing aids insist they don’t need them in many situations. You may think hearing aids are unattractive, when the reality is often the opposite. More attractive to your significant other is the ability to talk with you freely, rather than struggle to carry on a conversation. Your date is interested in spending time with you, and most likely is not concerned with how a hearing aid looks in your ear. He or she already knows you wear them, so why make the night more difficult for the two of you?
Pick a quiet place to celebrate
Large, busy restaurants with open kitchens have a lot of background noise that makes it difficult for people with hearing loss to communicate. Instead of booking a reservation at that brand new restaurant that’s been impossible to get into since it opened, why don’t you go to that cute little cafe down the street? You know, the one you talk about every time you walk by, but have never made it inside? Here’s your chance.
If you’re not the going out type, there’s nothing wrong with staying in! There’s no better place to have an intimate conversation than your own living room or dining room where you can control the listening environment. Create a delicious menu and enjoy cooking it together. An even easier idea? Order take out from your favorite dinner-on-the-go joint and pair it with a bottle of the wine or champagne you had at your wedding or first date.
Choose a hearing loss friendly activity
One of the best Valentine’s Day gifts you can give is to look at a situation from the point of view of your partner with hearing loss. Ask your loved one what he or she wants to do instead of planning a surprise. If you do surprise them, evaluate the activity’s compatibility with hearing aids, assistive listening devices or just hearing loss before you book. It’s easy to get caught up in the showy romance of the holiday. If you are surprising your date, make sure to advise him or her to bring any assistive listening devices that will enhance hearing clarity. For example, if you’re going to see the latest independent film, remind your date to bring a neckloop. Better yet, pack it for them to keep the suspense of the surprise at play!
Don’t make it a social event
The fewer people present, the less background noise there is to tune out. Valentine’s Day is about your one and only, not a dozen of your closest friends. Consider keeping the day simple and private by avoiding noisy public places. Savor breakfast in bed, snuggling on the sofa or taking a walk in a quiet place. One-on-one conversations in quiet places are often the easiest ones for people with hearing loss. If it’s your partner that has trouble hearing, they’ll appreciate it and you’ll enjoy being heard with ease.
Appreciate the intimacy
Communication is essential in maintaining a healthy, happy relationship. Days like Valentine’s Day exist to help you remember how important it is to appreciate your significant other and work on keeping those lines of communication open. Make the most of your time with your spouse or partner this year and be sure to re-establish how much you care for one another.
No matter what you do, as long as you take care to consider your loved one’s hearing loss when you plan your Valentine’s Day activities, they’ll appreciate you for it.
If you’ve decided that the best gift you can give your partner this year is to improve your relationship by improving your hearing, don’t delay. Find a dedicated hearing healthcare professional near you and schedule an appointment today!