Are you scheduled to host a holiday party but are unsure of how to accommodate everyone? Learn more about hosting an accessible holiday party in this week’s Audicus blog!
The holidays can be an exciting yet stressful time to have social gatherings. Dealing with inclement weather, delays in transportation, group activities and buying presents can be particularly difficult if you don’t plan ahead.
Here are some tips that can help you to have a healthy, happy and stress-free holiday experience!
Accessible Holiday Tip: Coordinate Hearing-Friendly Activities
Holiday planning can be especially troublesome if you’re the host of a holiday party. Good hosting includes accommodating people with regards to their dietary restrictions, modes of transportation and varying levels of hearing loss.
Some people may have mild, moderate or severe hearing loss and may rely on a hearing aid or cochlear implant. For seating arrangements, be sure to seat people who rely on lip reading in an arrangement where they have access to see everyone.
If watching television together, make sure that you have closed captioning on so that people with hearing loss will be able to follow the program being watched.
Music can be a great addition to a holiday gathering, but make sure that it is either low enough for people to be able to communicate with each other comfortably or be sure to have different spaces available in the establishment that people can access.
For people with hearing loss or tinnitus it is common for loud noises to be painful to the ears, and people who experience difficulty with loud noises may not say anything because they don’t want to stand out or appear demanding.
Excessive exposure to loud sound stimuli can actually worsen hearing loss, and creating quiet spaces in the establishment is a great way to accommodate people that have trouble speaking or hearing others speak with music or other stimuli in the background.
Accessible Holiday Tip: Plan Events Indoors
Outdoor holiday events can be quite entertaining, but make sure to accommodate indoor events as well!
Inclement weather including snow, rain, hail and sleet can be problematic for people that rely on hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Precipitation from inclement weather can cause damage to hearing aids or hearing aid batteries, and hearing aids that fall out can be very difficult to find in the snow.
Physical activities outdoors can be problematic because they increase the chance of hearing aids falling out, and people who neglect wearing their hearing aids to avoid accidents may have trouble with their balance during physical activities.
Furthermore, howling winter winds can blow hearing aids off of a person’s ear or even whisk away the hearing aids during periods of intense wind.
Winter winds can also make it hard for people with hearing loss to hear other people speak or generally understand what’s going on in their environment.
Setting aside time indoors for quiet activities can help ensure that everyone is accommodated for and enjoys the holiday experience!
By: Aaron Rodriques