So, so many family get-togethers.
During the holidays, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative every other weekend. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to reunite with everybody and find out what they’re up to!
But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers may seem a little less inviting. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect 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 other people to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing feeling 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 fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to stay 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 traditional phone calls.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that can certainly be aggravating. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. 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 have hearing loss. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- Your family and friends to talk a bit slower.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Conversations to take place in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously select spaces that are quieter for talking.
deal with it like this:
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That might mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.
- Try to find well lit spots for this same reason. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
- Try to find places that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people talking to you (and help you lip read as a result).
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. Be sure to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a bit 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.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s essential to understand all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You might find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking regular breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear at this point, in many ways!
Every conversation with your family over the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Remember that it may take you some time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Everybody will have a different experience. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
It can feel like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody can relate to what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. We can help you get through many of these dilemmas.
Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even harder. With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.