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

Gatherings. So many family gatherings.

During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative almost every weekend. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) because of this. Normally, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to learn what everyone’s been up to all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be extremely disheartening and stressful around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

These tips are designed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.

Steer clear of phone calls – instead, use video calls.

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular challenge. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound garbled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s essential to let people know if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • People to slow down a bit when talking with you.
  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).

People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. Communication will flow better as a result.

Select your areas of conversation carefully

Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any sensitive subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Attempt to find places that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
  • Attempt to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • 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 direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So what about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s essential to comprehend all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have trouble hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can become a lot of effort. You might find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking frequent breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.

Consider getting hearing aids

How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.

Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.

Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

It might take a little time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everyone’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if nobody can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.

Holidays can be difficult enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even harder. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right strategy.

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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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