So, so many family celebrations.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, this sort of annual catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to learn what everybody’s been doing all year.
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers might seem a little less welcoming. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact 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 feeling when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, 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 so much to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Avoid phone calls – use video instead
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch. If you have hearing loss, this is particularly true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones present a difficult conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be really hard to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Be honest with people
It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- A quieter place to talk.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to get annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.
Choose your areas of conversation carefully
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
Handle it like this:
- Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
- Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud sporting event on the TV.
- Try to find places that have less activity and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
- Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
- 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 effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s essential to understand all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra essential to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s important not to miss anything!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You might find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you once did. This means that it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!
Every interaction with your family through the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest 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.
It may take a little time to get used to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with 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 alone. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. We can help you get through many of these dilemmas.
Holidays can be tough enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.