Communication Strategies: Hearing During Public Events

If you’ve been following our communication strategies posts, then you’re now a pro at communicating at home, in the car, over the phone, while dining out, and watching TV. Well done! Now, let’s work on communication strategies that will help those with hearing during public events. Whether you’re an avid musical or play fan, attend places of worship, or love going to the movies, it’s important to master hearing during public events, and we can help! Let’s get started.

Plan ahead

  • Whenever possible, prepare for hearing during your next public event. If you’re attending a play, read up about the play before the show so you know the main story line. That way you’re familiar with the material before the curtains go up. When you know what to expect, you won’t feel so lost if you miss a word here and there.
  • Another great way to practice is by going to places of worship. If that’s something you do anyway, take advantage and let it help with hearing during public events! Places of worship are free, and you can attend at least once a week to perfect your listen skills. Read the program before the service starts, in fact, most event programs will be posted on the venue’s website. If they will be referencing a particular passage in a book, read that passage ahead of time too. You’ll be surprised at how much more you enjoy the service when you aren’t struggling to hear every single word.
  • Be proactive about caring for your hearing aids! Nothing is worse than a low-battery warning in the middle of a great movie. Before you leave for the event, take two minutes to clean your hearing aids and replace the batteries. It’ll make a world of difference!
  • If you need to purchase tickets for an event, do so early so that you can get seats near the front and center of the venue. If the seating is open, plan to leave extra early so you can claim those choice seats! Changing where you sit is the best environmental modification you can make at a public events. Choose seats near the front and closest to the stage or podium. This puts you closer to the speaker’s face so that you can see those critical lip movements and facial expressions.

Be assertive

As we’ve determined, public events like plays, movies, or religious services can be challenging for those with hearing loss, which is why being assertive is essential. Though it is critical that public speakers enunciate, speak slowly, and project their voices, not all of them do so. This is where you come in, it’s your opportunity to be a Clear Communication Advocate! 

If you attend a public event where the speaker does not communicate effectively, let the venue know. You can complete a comment card, or verbally share your constructive criticism with the event organizers. Think about it, if you had trouble hearing, chances are others did too. Though it may be intimidating at first, remember that the venue will be grateful for your feedback. Better yet, audience members also benefit from the improvements that might be made as a result of your comments.

Remember:

Even with properly-fit hearing aids, it’s normal to miss a word here and there. This is especially true at larger events where you may be seated far from the speakers or performers. Increasing the hearing aid volume may help. Some hearing aids may also have a special program designated for public events. Don’t be discouraged if you miss a couple of words, go with the flow and the pieces will fall together. 

When you’re the speaker

If you’re speaking at a public event, be sure to repeat any questions or comments that come from your audience, and check-in frequently to make sure your listeners are following your message. A quick “Is everyone with me?” will work wonders to keep your audience engaged! And of course, be sure to project your voice and enunciate clearly.

If you regularly lead a meeting or group function, ask  your audience for feedback about how they are hearing you, and make accommodations based on their comments. Don’t forget to check in often, your audience will thank you and you will build stronger speaking habits as a byproduct.

Feedback always helps

If you are the attendee of a meeting or group function, let the speakers know how they are doing. If you struggle to hear them, or if they have a habit of moving away from the microphone, tell them! Be sure to give feedback both when it’s good and when it’s bad. Feedback may be positive or negative, but it is always helpful.

Technology and Hearing during Public Events

Many public venues have special devices that can be checked out from the front office that work alone (with headphones or ear buds), or in conjunction with hearing aids (via a special neck loop), to bring the sound directly into your ears. Look for a sign with an ear on it, or ask the ticket person if the venue has any kind of system for people who are hearing impaired. You may need to work with your hearing care provider to create a special program, or to get the necessary accessories to use such a system with your hearing aids. 

Your hearing care provider can create a special program in your hearing aids that is tailored specifically for public events. If you regularly attend religious services, musicals or plays, talk to your provider about these situations so they can program your hearing aids accordingly.

Hearing Loops

More and more public venues are being “looped” to accommodate the needs of those with hearing loss. This means that a long wire is installed around the floor or ceiling of a large room. That large wire is an induction loop that is connected to the PA system in the room. People with hearing aids can put their aids into the “telecoil” or “t-coil” setting, and they will hear the message directly in their hearing aids. This eliminates the distance and reverberation that often cause the signal to be distorted in a large room.

Public venues that have technology for people with hearing loss will display a sign that looks like the one to the left. When the sign has a little “T” at the bottom corner, you know that there is a hearing loop installed.

Hearing Loops are so important, we’re going to create an entire post on them in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back! For now, we hope these communication strategies are helpful with hearing during public events. Give us a call if you have any questions, or to make an appointment, we’re here for you!

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