Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to check in on everybody and find out what they’re up to!
But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers may feel a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing sensation when it happens around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.
During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead
Zoom calls can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones throughout the holidays.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. It’s crucial to tell people if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:
- Your friends and family to talk a little slower.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
When people know that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re less likely to become irritated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Select your locations of conversation wisely
Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously avoid specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
deal with it like this:
- You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more successfully.
- Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Ask your niece to carry on the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
- If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
- Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or experience hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual guidelines. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you have hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You might find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you used to. So taking regular breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!
One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family over the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And no more asking people what they said.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
It may take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Everybody will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like no one can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you’re not 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 normally are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.