So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative every other weekend. That’s the appeal (and, some would say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But those family get-togethers may feel less welcoming when you’re dealing with hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others 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
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot 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 meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays.
Phones represent an interesting dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be really difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, 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 much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide added context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is very common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
People won’t be as likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any sensitive subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously select spaces that are quieter for talking.
deal with it like this:
- When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
- Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Attempt to find places that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less going on. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
When families are spread out, lots of people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will often find yourself fatigued more frequently than you used to. This means that it’s important to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more rewarding. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It may take a little time to get used to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Of course, everybody’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays by yourself
It can seem like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you aren’t alone. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct strategy.