So, so many family celebrations.
During the holidays, it most likely feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings may feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
Phones present a difficult dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, 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 isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s crucial to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- A quieter place to have conversations.
- People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase as well.
- Your family and friends to talk a bit slower.
People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little bit easier.
Find some quiet areas for talking
During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously select spaces that are quieter for conversations.
Here’s how to deal with it:
- By the same token, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- Try to find places that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
- Politely start walking to a spot where you can hear and focus better. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
- 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.
Communicate with the flight crew
So what about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
When families are spread out, lots of people have to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with additional visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than before. So taking regular breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, in a lot of ways!
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat what they said.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It could take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Of course, everybody’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like nobody can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.
Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right strategy.