So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) because of this. Normally, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to find out what everyone’s been up to all year.
But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing sensation when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a great way to keep in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones represent an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be very hard to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be frustrating. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide additional context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
Hearing loss is very common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- A quieter place to talk.
- Your family and friends to speak a bit slower.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
When people recognize that you have hearing loss, they’re less likely to become aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a bit easier.
Choose your areas of conversation carefully
You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any delicate subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously choose areas that are quieter for conversations.
Here’s how to handle it:
- Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- For this reason, keep your discussions in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. Be certain to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
Communicate with the flight crew
So what about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are fairly spread out. It’s crucial that you can comprehend all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual instructions. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!
When you have hearing loss, communication can be a lot of effort. You might find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s essential to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Get some hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
Every interaction with your family through the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat what they said.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take a little time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.
You don’t need to navigate the holidays by yourself
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if 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 there’s help. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.