Approximately 37.5 million U.S. adults report some trouble hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the effects aren’t just physical: Hearing loss can leave you feeling isolated, even in a roomful of family and friends.
In one Dutch study, each decibel of hearing loss was linked to a 7 percent increase in loneliness among adults under age 70. But loneliness isn’t inevitable. Hearing aids and other devices, as well as smart strategies, can help you communicate and feel more connected at social events, loud restaurants or when meeting someone new.
“It takes more work, but the work is worth it,” says hearing advocate Shari Eberts, founder of the blog Living With Hearing Loss. “This is the one life you have.”
Here, Eberts and other experts share advice for navigating common social settings when you have hearing loss.
Call the host ahead of time. “If you’ll be a guest somewhere, reach out in advance to the host,” Eberts says. “Maybe there’s a portion of the party where the music can be turned down or off. And request to be seated at the center of the table so you have the opportunity to see as many people as possible and be more a part of group conversations.”