Dating can be tough under any circumstances – what to wear, where to go, wondering if there will be a second date. Especially in today’s world of online dating where profile pictures are everything and computer algorithms are doing much of the matching.
What if you have a hearing loss? That can make things even more complicated. Should you talk about your hearing loss upfront? How does it impact the types of dates that work best? How should you communicate between dates?
Many of my friends with hearing loss say that if they cannot hear someone well on the first date, there is never a second date. This may seem a bit harsh, but it is probably smart. Perhaps she speaks softly or he covers his mouth with his hands. Most people don’t change the way they speak, so why start something that will only lead to frustration and heartache down the road.
But don’t give up hope! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are some tips for successful dating with hearing loss.
1. Location, location, location. The environment is probably the most important condition for a successful date. Don’t be shy about suggesting the location of the date. Scope out good spots well beforehand, so you will be prepared when a dating opportunity arises. Look for venues (restaurants, bars, coffee shops) that are quieter, have good acoustics, and are well lit (to help with lip reading).
2. Be creative with date ideas. A walk in the park, a one-on-one dinner or game night at home can be a romantic and unexpected date. It will be much quieter than a night out and may be more memorable since it is out of the ordinary. Your date will also appreciate the thought and effort you made in planning something special.
3. Arrive to the date early. This is most important if the date is at a restaurant or bar. Pick a spot in the corner, away from the kitchen and any noisy tables. I always like to have a wall behind me if possible. You can also ask the manager to turn down the volume of any background music. Sometimes they will.
4. When to disclose your hearing loss? This is a personal decision, but most of the people I know are upfront about it from the start. They post it on their online dating profiles and let their dates know that they might ask them to repeat themselves because of their hearing loss. It is important for your dates to understand this, otherwise they may think you are rude or are tuning them out if you respond to something in a funny way. Plus, it is going to come out at some point. Why not screen out those who cannot handle it from the very start.
5. Communication between dates. Some people love to talk on the phone. With hearing loss, video chat via Skype or FaceTime are a great option so you can see the person’s mouth in addition to hearing their voice with your hearing aids. Texting and email also work well in between dates, but can be less personal.
With or without a hearing loss, dating has its ups and down. But when armed with these tips, a positive attitude and persistence, you might just find love around the next corner. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Readers, what tips do you have for successfully dating with hearing loss?