When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy 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 laughing and playing. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?
Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t need 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 recommendations.
At Holiday Gatherings
Get-togethers might be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:
- Your expectations have to be managed. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to point it out.
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
- Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are most likely talking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that get in your way. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
It can be hard to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They could 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 even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to bring 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 offered.
Be sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t respond when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:
- A cleaning kit
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to remove them. You can leave them in while flying, as well.
Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.