You Can Still Have a Wonderful Holiday Season in Spite of Hearing Loss

Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. So many family gatherings.

During the holidays, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.

But those family gatherings may feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially distressing sensation when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s lots to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

Phones present an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply added context, and that will help the conversation flow better.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s essential to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
  • People to slow down a bit when talking with you.
  • People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase also.

People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little bit easier.

Find some quiet areas for talking

Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to cautiously select areas that are quieter for talking.

Handle it like this:

  • By the same token, keep your conversations in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
  • There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • You’re looking for spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more effectively.
  • When you find a spot to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
  • Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less going on. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?

When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra essential to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual instructions. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You might find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a break.

Consider investing in hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.

Every conversation with your family over the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.

In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

Bear in mind that it could take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everybody’s experience will be different. But we can help you with the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they normally are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right strategy.

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.


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