Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

Call Us Today Call Us Today


Group of coworkers at office holiday party despite hearing loss

You’re assaulted by noise as soon as you get to the annual company holiday party. You can feel the pumping music, the thrum of shouted conversations, and the clattering of glasses.

You’re not enjoying it at all.

You can’t hear a thing in this noisy environment. The punch lines of jokes are missed, you can’t hear conversations and it’s all very disorienting. How can this be fun for anyone? But then you look around and notice that you’re the only one that seems to be having difficulty.

For individuals who suffer from hearing loss, this most likely sounds familiar. The office holiday party can introduce some unique stressors and consequently, what should be a jolly affair is nothing more than a dour, solitary event. But have no fear! You can get through the next holiday party without a problem with this little survival guide and perhaps you will even enjoy yourself.

Why holiday parties can be stressful

Holiday parties are usually a unique blend of fun and stress, (if you’re introverted this is especially true) even if your hearing is healthy. If you struggle to hear when there’s a lot of background noise, holiday parties come with unique stressors.

Most notable is the noise. To put it into perspective: a holiday party is your team’s chance to let loose a bit. In an environment like this, people tend to talk at louder volumes and frequently all at once. Could alcohol be a factor here? Yes, yes it can. But even dry office parties can get to be a little on the boisterous side.

For those who have hearing loss, this noise creates a certain level of interference. Here are some reasons for this:

  • Office parties include lots of people all talking over each other. It’s not easy to isolate one voice from many when you’re dealing with hearing loss.
  • Talking, music, clinking dishes, laughing, all in the background. Your brain doesn’t always get enough information to pick out voices.
  • When you have hearing loss, indoor parties such as office parties can make it even harder to hear because sound can become amplified.

This means anyone with hearing loss will experience trouble picking up and following conversations. At first look, that might sound like a minor thing.

So… What is the big deal?

The big deal is the networking and professional aspect of things. Although office holiday parties are social events in theory, they’re also professional events. It’s usually highly encouraged to attend these events so we’ll probably be there. Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • You can network: Holiday parties are the perfect chance to network with employees from other departments or even catch up with co-workers in your own section. Work will be discussed, even though it’s a social event it’s also a networking occasion. You can use this event to forge new connections. But it’s more challenging when you have hearing loss and can’t understand what’s going on because of the overwhelming noise.
  • You can feel isolated: Who wants to be that person who’s constantly asking people to repeat themselves? Isolation and hearing loss frequently go hand and hand for this reason. Even if you ask your family and friends to sometimes repeat themselves, it’s not the same with colleagues. They may mistake your hearing loss for incompetence. Your reputation could be damaged. So perhaps you simply avoid interaction instead. You’ll feel left out and left behind, and that’s not a fun feeling for anyone!

This can be even more troublesome because you may not even know you have hearing loss. Usually, one of the first signs of hearing loss is the inability to hear in crowded settings (such as office parties or crowded restaurants).

As a result, you may be surprised that you’re having a tough time following the conversation. And you might be even more surprised that you’re the only one.

Hearing loss causes

So what is the cause of this? How do you develop hearing loss? Age and, or noise damage are the most common causes. Your ears will usually take repeated damage from loud noise as you age. The stereocilia (tiny hairs in your ears that sense vibrations) become damaged.

These tiny hairs won’t heal and can’t be healed. And your hearing will continue to get worse the more stereocilia that die. In most instances, hearing loss like this is permanent (so you’re better off protecting your hearing before the injury occurs).

With this knowledge, there are ways you can make your holiday office party a little less unpleasant!

Tips to make your office party more enjoyable

Your office party presents some considerable opportunities (and fun!), so you really want to go. So, when you’re in a noisy setting, how can you hear better? Well, here are a few tips to make your office party go a little smoother:

  • Have conversations in quieter locations: Possibly try sitting on a couch or around a corner. When the background noise gets too loud, sitting behind stationary objects can give you little pockets that are slightly quieter.
  • Keep the alcohol drinking to a minimum: Communication will be less effective as your thinking gets fuzzy. In other words, steer clear of the alcohol. It’ll make the whole process a lot smoother.
  • Look at faces: Try to spend time with people who have very expressive faces and hand gestures when they speak. You will be capable of filling in information gaps using these contextual signals.
  • Take listening breaks: Every hour, give yourself a 15 minute quiet break. This will help prevent you from becoming completely exhausted after having to listen really hard.
  • Try to read lips: You will improve the more you practice. And you will probably never perfect this. But some gaps can be filled in using this technique.

Of course, there’s an even more ideal solution: get fitted for a set of hearing aids. These hearing aids can be personalized to your hearing needs, and they can also be discrete. Even if you pick larger hearing aids it will still be better than asking people to repeat themselves.

Get your hearing tested before the party

If possible, take a hearing test before you go to the party. Due to COVID, this may be your first holiday party in several years, and you don’t want to be surprised by your inability to hear!

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today