So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative almost every weekend. That’s the appeal (and, some would say, the bane) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to reunite with everyone and find out what they’ve been doing!
But those family gatherings may feel less welcoming when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s lots to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much 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 developed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. 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 present a difficult dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be really difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice on the other end, and that can certainly be aggravating. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help figure out what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
- People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
- People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase too.
When people know that you have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication tends to flow a little bit easier.
Select your areas of conversation carefully
During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.
Here’s how to handle it:
- Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
- Try to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more successfully.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with holiday cocoa? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Politely start walking to a spot where you can hear and focus better. Be sure to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to talk.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have trouble hearing or have 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!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of effort. You may find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you used to. So taking frequent breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Invest in some hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, in a lot of ways!
Every interaction with your family over the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
Bear in mind that it may take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Of course, everybody’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all alone. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.