Five tips for online dating with hearing loss
The dating world can be a scary place. For most people with hearing loss, dating often poses additional challenges:
“Did she say, ‘Would you like more bread’ or ‘Would you like a mo-ped?"
“Did he say, ‘I love you’ or “Olive juice?”
It’s not uncommon for those with hearing loss to bluff their way through a date, pretending they heard everything their date said. That’s why the world of online dating can be so alluring; it provides an “ears-free” way of communicating with potential love interests, an advantage to the single and hard of hearing. But the Internet also presents a different challenge: The profile page.
The profile page is the online substitute for your in-person first impression. In it, you want to provide interesting tidbits about yourself – that you enjoy cooking Thai food, have a passion for bird watching or run marathons so that people get an idea of your personality.
Those with hearing loss might wonder if one of the tidbits should indicate that they are hard of hearing. It’s a personal choice, of course and whether you choose to talk about your hearing loss or not, the key to successful online dating and profile writing is, as one might surmise, to own your characteristic traits with honesty and humility. For additional help with that dating profile, here are a few tips to help your online dating life an active and happy one.
1) Be confident
Self confidence is the best way to earn attraction points from members of the opposite sex. We all have differences and imperfections, and instead of trying to hide them, you should embrace them as part of what makes you unique. When it comes right down to it, people fall in love with their significant other’s interior, not the exterior. That’s why writing honest information about yourself is so important in online dating. That said; don’t be afraid to post photos in which your hearing aids are prominently displayed. In most cases, a pair of hearing aids is hardly enough to make someone turn and run in the opposite direction. And if it is, is that really the kind of person you’re interested in dating anyway?
2) Be open
Many people don’t know anyone with hearing loss, and if they do, there’s a good chance it’s an elderly relative. If a person’s experience with hearing loss is limited, they’ll likely have questions. That’s a good thing! That means they’re interested in learning more about how things are different for you and interest is always a positive sign. If you don’t mention your hearing loss in your profile, take the opportunity to explain to your date the exact nature of your hearing loss when you’re face to face. Have tinnitus? Suffer from Meniere’s Disease? Do you have a cochlear implant? The more a potential date knows, the better they can adapt to make communication – especially for future dates – easier for you.
3) Be yourself
Your hearing loss is a part of your life, so embrace it as such and make sure your online profile reflects your true self. Then, once you make it past the initial online get-to-know-you messages to meeting for coffee, cocktails or cribbage, don’t hide your hearing aids or pretend you’re understanding what your date is saying when you’re not hearing him or her properly. People are typically pretty good about recognizing when you’re faking, and it can create awkward situations. Faking your way around your hearing loss puts the other person in the uncomfortable position of having to broach the topic with you.
4) Be helpful
Since many people with normal hearing don’t deal with hearing loss in their lives, they might not be aware of all the little things they take for granted. Don’t be afraid to suggest little changes in how they communicate with you, such as turning to look at you when they speak, or being more aware of not mumbling and being sure to enunciate clearly. After some time, these habits will become second nature, and the person you’re dating will develop the ability to subconsciously factor your hearing loss into their daily routine.
5) Be brave!
Dating is scary for everyone, so you’re not alone. Everyone has something they’re afraid of sharing. Everyone has insecurities…including your date! It can take a lot of courage to put yourself and your hearing loss out there, but the payoff is well worth it!