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. More, and more family gatherings.

It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Typically, this sort of annual catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’ve been doing!

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings may feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s a lot to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.

Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

Phones present a difficult conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be very difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Be honest with people

Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • Your family and friends to speak a bit slower.
  • Conversations to take place in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
  • People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase also.

People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little easier.

Find some quiet spaces for talking

During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
  • Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
  • Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous football game on the TV.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.

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

  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. Be certain to mention that’s what you’re doing.

Speak to the flight crew

So how about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can understand all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if needed. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than you used to. So taking frequent breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Invest in some hearing aids

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

One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family over the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.

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

Remember that it might take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to pick them up. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t need to get through the holidays alone

When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if no one understands what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all alone. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. 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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