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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

Get-togethers may be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more challenging due to your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip smoother. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is possible.

Be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who have hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

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

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if you are new to it. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing solutions are.

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