Inclusive Event Planning for Hearing-Impaired & Deaf People

Inclusive Event Planning for Hearing-Impaired & Deaf People
October 22, 2020

Being an inclusive wedding professional doesn't only mean inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. There are many ways to be inclusive, and today I want to talk to you about being inclusive of disabled people. Specifically, hard-of-hearing and deaf folks.

To look at me, you might not think anything is wrong. But I'm hearing-impaired. I wear hearing aids in both ears. I hear nine percent of sounds in one ear and 25 percent of sounds in the other. When I can't hear what people are saying, I feel isolated and alone. It's tiring to continue to ask people to repeat themselves so often I just smile and nod because I'm exhausted.

When people like me attend events, there are ways you can be accomodating. And since you might not know if a hearing-impaired person is attending your event, I recommend you just do these things anyway. Here are five tips to make your event more inclusive of hard-of-hearing or deaf guests.

  1. Mic up your couple for their vows and have a mic for toasts and speeches. Everyone who came to the wedding desperately wants to hear what's being said, and not everyone speaking is an expert at projecting their voice.
  2. If you anticipate deaf people at the event you’re planning, plan for a sign-language interpreter at the altar and at the reception for vows, speeches, performances, and announcements from the DJ or band.
  3. Having a socially distanced event during the pandemic? Offer clear masks to the guests so people who are deaf and hard of hearing can read the lips of everyone else.
  4. Playing a video during the reception? Add captions so we can enjoy the show too.
  5. Ask your couple ahead of the event if there are any hard-of-hearing or deaf guests who need special accommodations and offer them (and their guest!) a reserved seat in the front row of the wedding so they don't miss a single word. 


Hero photo courtesy: Steven Steinhardt


About the Author

Kirsten Ott Palladino
Kirsten Ott Palladino
Cofounder, Equally Wed
Kirsten Ott Palladino is a multi-award-winning entrepreneurial writer, editor, speaker, and author. She's the cofounder and editorial director of Equally Wed, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine, as well as the creator of Equally Wed Pro, a digital LGBTQ+ inclusive certification course and educational platform.