Help Those With Hearing Loss Enjoy Your WeddingJun 11, 2015
If you have hearing impaired family and friends, they don’t need to miss out on any part of your wedding. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure that your special day is enjoyed by everyone.
Almost 40 million Americans live with significant hearing loss – that’s about 12 percent of the population. If you’re hosting a wedding with 250 guests, chances are that around 25 to 30 of them will have some degree of hearing loss. For those people, even the most beautiful wedding can be difficult. Someone with hearing loss may miss the vows, the speeches or get left out of conversations because of all of the background noise and revelry. This could leave them feeling alienated from the celebration. But they deserve to enjoy the beautiful wedding you planned as much as your other guests. And there are things you can do to make sure that happens.
What Level Of Hearing Loss Are You Dealing With?
When you’re thinking about how to make your wedding accessible for everyone, first ask yourself what level of hearing loss you will need to accommodate. Someone with mild to moderate hearing loss will have different needs than someone who is deaf or has a severe hearing impairment. Do they prefer American Sign Language (ALS) or reading lips? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide which services will work best for your guests - using a sign language interpreter, or simply seating them closer to the action.
Is There A Loop System?
Find out if your venue has a loop system. A loop system works with many different types of hearing aids so the hearing aid user can hear directly from the PA system, while diminishing background noise. It is also helpful to give those with hearing loss priority seating up front – both during the ceremony and the reception.
Print An Itinerary
Just as your RSVP may have an option for “beef” or “vegetarian,” consider adding an option for people who would like to have the main speaking portions of the wedding – such as the vows, speeches or readings – printed, so they can read along and not miss anything. And a printed itinerary of the ceremony helps to reduce confusion and misunderstandings during the ceremony.
Low Centerpieces And Bright Lighting
At the reception, keep centerpieces low. Tall centerpieces can block conversations, and don’t allow you to see the person sitting across the table. This is difficult for people who rely on lip-reading to understand what’s going on in the conversations around them. Also, make sure your venue has good lighting. People with hearing loss rely on seeing the people they are talking to, and dim lighting can make understanding conversations a real challenge.
Print The Words To Your First Dance
If you are hiring a DJ, ask about audio equipment for those with hearing loss, such as a captioning service or a loop system. Print out the words to the first dance song so anyone with hearing loss can follow along in the moment. And keep the speakers on the ground – people with hearing loss will be able to feel the vibrations and dance along with everyone else all night long.
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