Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

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 get together. 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 might be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Your expectations have to be managed. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the middle of the table.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to stop you. Here are a few recommendations to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip smoother. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.

Make sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t answer when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make 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 offered for those who have hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

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

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. You do not need to take them out. You can leave them in during an air flight, as well.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing options are.

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