Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with your family? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s famous 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? While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Parties

Parties may be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Provide some visual hints of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more challenging due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • So you can feel less isolated, request a seat near the center of the table.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. 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 intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip better there are some things you can do. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They might 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 certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is provided.

Be certain the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing options are.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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