Don’t Let Hearing Loss Stop You From Having Fun This Holiday Season

Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with hearing loss, get-togethers might be the biggest challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:

  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • In order to feel less isolated, request a seat near the center of the table.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
  • If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you get on board, make certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Extra batteries or a second charger

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not required. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing options are.

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