Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfortable 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 struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

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

  • Step out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are most likely speaking to you. Tell them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

When you get on board, make sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t reply when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to take them out. You can keep them in while flying, also.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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