Contributed by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA
The dating world can be a scary place. For people with hearing loss, dating can pose additional challenges:
Did she say, “Would you like more bread” or “Would you like a moped?”
Did he say, “I love you” or “Olive juice?”
It’s not uncommon for those with hearing loss to bluff their way through a date, pretending they heard everything their date said. That’s why the world of online dating can be so alluring; it provides an “ears-free” way of communicating with potential love interests, an advantage to the single and hard of hearing. But the internet also presents a different challenge: the profile page.
The profile page is the online substitute for your in-person first impression. In it, you want to provide interesting tidbits about yourself – that you enjoy cooking Thai food, have a passion for bird watching or run marathons so people get an idea of your personality.
If you have hearing loss, you might wonder if you should disclose it on your profile. It’s a personal choice, of course. Whether you choose to talk about your hearing loss in your profile or not, the key to successful dating and relationships is to own your characteristic traits with honesty and humility. For additional help with that dating profile, here are a few tips to help your online dating life be an active and happy one.
Self-confidence is the best way to earn attraction points from potential dates. We all have differences and imperfections, and instead of trying to hide them, embrace them as part of what makes you unique. When it comes right down to it, people fall in love with their significant other’s interior, not the exterior. That’s why writing honest information about yourself is so important in online dating. Don’t be afraid to post photos in which your hearing aids are prominently displayed. In most cases, a pair of hearing aids is hardly enough to make someone turn and run in the opposite direction. If it is, is that really the kind of person you’re interested in dating anyway?
Many people don’t know anyone with hearing loss. If a person’s experience with hearing loss is limited, they’ll likely have questions. That’s a good thing! That means they’re interested in learning more about you, always a positive sign. If you don’t mention your hearing loss in your profile, take the opportunity to explain to your date the nature of your hearing loss when you’re face to face. Have tinnitus? Suffer from Meniere’s Disease? Do you have a cochlear implant? The more a potential date knows, the better they can adapt to make communication for future dates easier and more pleasant.
Your hearing loss is a part of your life, so embrace it and make sure your online profile reflects your true self. Once you make it past the initial online contact to meet for coffee, cocktails or cribbage, don’t hide your hearing aids or pretend you’re understanding what your date is saying if you aren’t. People are good at recognizing when you’re faking, and it can create awkward situations. Faking your way around your hearing loss puts the other person in the uncomfortable position of having to broach the topic with you.
Since many people with normal hearing don’t deal with hearing loss in their lives, they might not be aware of all the little things they take for granted. Don’t be afraid to suggest little changes in how they communicate with you, such as turning to look at you when they speak or being mindful of mumbling and enunciating clearly. After some time, these habits will become second nature, and the person you’re dating will develop the ability to subconsciously factor your hearing loss into their daily routine.
Dating is scary for everyone, so you’re not alone. Everyone, including your attractive date, has insecurities and things they’re afraid of sharing. Give yourself credit for trying. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself and your hearing loss out there, but the payoff is well worth it!
If you currently have hearing loss and have not gotten help, don’t be afraid to do so. The tests are easy and painless. Today’s hearing aids are sleek, sophisticated and sometimes downright sexy since they will improve many aspects of all your relationships. Visit a hearing care professional in our extensive clinic directory to get started.