Summer is officially in full swing and with it, wedding season. If you have a wedding date set, chances are it’s coming up in the next several months. That also means that you are busy planning the perfect I do event! You may have venue, flowers and food on your list, but have you considered how to make it a more hearing-accessible event?
With more and more family and friends affected by hearing loss, these tips can help you make it a day that everyone can hear and remember.
Why a hearing-accessible wedding is a smart move
With a lengthy list of to-do’s for your I do’s, you may wonder why it’s important to add more to your list. The fact is, millions of Americans report some difficulty hearing. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing, and one in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears. That means that chances are you will have several people at your wedding with hearing loss. These family and friends may have difficulty hearing vows, toasts and all the special moments that make up your big day.
A little extra preparation and some simple steps can go a long way in making those with hearing loss feel included and comfortable at your wedding and reception.
Tips for a more hearing loss friendly event
Wherever you are in your planning process, there are ways you can create a more comfortable environment for guests with hearing loss. Here are some of our top tips.
Talk to your guests. Whether you’re posting an update on your wedding website or picking up the phone to call those family and friends you know have hearing loss, don’t shy away from asking what guests need to best hear during the ceremony and reception.
Find the right venue. If you haven’t already chosen a venue, be sure to ask questions about accommodations. Does the site offer a loop system or other hearing assistive technology? Are microphones available? Do the acoustics minimize background noise? Is the lighting adequate for lip reading? Many venues now offer several options to help those with hearing loss enjoy any event.
Plan the ceremony. Thoughtful touches during the ceremony require little extra time but go a long way for guests with hearing loss. If possible, seat guests with hearing loss closer to the front to help cut out background noise for them so they can better understand the ceremony. Offering printed programs with key text like your vows can also help prevent confusion and frustration for family and friends who may have difficulty hearing.
Don’t forget the reception details. Like the ceremony, make sure that hearing assistive technology is available for guests to use. Whether that’s a loop that is accessible by hearing aid or microphones to help make all the festivities easier to understand. Try to seat guests with hearing loss with other family and friends they know. In some cases, people are reluctant and self-conscious to share that they have difficulty hearing with people they don’t know. Finally, make decorations conducive to conversation. Sure, those three-foot-tall centerpieces look stunning in the magazine, but they may prevent your guests from chatting during the reception, especially those with hearing loss.
If you have a wedding around the corner, show all of your guests how important they are to your story by planning with hearing loss in mind.
If you have questions about hearing loss and how to identify, manage and treat it, call our office.