Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? 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 hear what everyone is saying?

Loss of hearing 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 loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Gatherings

Get-togethers might be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • So you can feel less alone, request a seat close to the center of the table.
  • If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip easier. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks early if you want to know what is provided.

Be certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. 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 make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

You may not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Taking them out is not required. You can leave them on during an air flight, also.

Finally, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can 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 most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you understand what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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