So, so many family celebrations.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to learn what everybody’s been doing all year.
But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?
Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be especially disheartening and stressful around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, 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.
During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a great way to stay in touch. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. It can be very difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. You won’t have better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. 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 incredibly common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- People to slow down a little bit when talking with you.
- A quieter place to talk.
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 has a tendency to flow a little bit smoother.
Select your locations of conversation carefully
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any delicate subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully avoid specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.
Here’s how to handle it:
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. 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. Maybe that means moving away from the noisy television or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- For this reason, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
- When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a couple of things you can do in situations like these:
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. 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.
Speak to the flight crew
So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?
Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially essential for families that are pretty spread out. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra essential to tell the flight crew that you have trouble hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if necessary. 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 frequently find yourself fatigued more frequently than you used to. This means that it’s important to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Get some hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Keep in mind that it may take you some time to get used to your hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Of course, everybody’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like nobody can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to do it all alone. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. We can help you navigate many of these dilemmas.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or anxiety (that is, any more than they normally are). With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.