Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and cozy 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 laugh and play. Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is saying?

Hearing loss doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider some tips that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

For people with loss of hearing, parties may be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:

  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Stand away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Give some visual signs of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the intercom. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things that can be done. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. There might be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can ask for priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

Make sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who have hearing loss at lots of resorts. 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

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. You do not need to take them out. You can leave them in while flying, also.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe 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 only come once a year. 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 everything you remember. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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