Don’t Allow Hearing Loss to Keep You Hostage This Holiday Season

Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a delicious 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 struggling to hear what everyone is saying?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider some tricks that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

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

  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the middle of the table.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip better there are some things you can do. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is possible.

When you board, make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. 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

You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

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

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

Finally, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. To help you know what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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