So, so many family get-togethers.
It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the appeal (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Typically, this type of annual catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to reunite with everybody and find out what they’ve been doing!
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings may feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing experience when it happens during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated 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
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much 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.
These tips are developed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones during the holidays.
Phones present a difficult dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and difficult to understand, and that can certainly be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, 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.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase as well.
- Your friends and family to speak a little slower.
- Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will flow better as a result.
Find some quiet spaces for conversing
During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any delicate subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully avoid specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
Here’s how to deal with it:
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.
- There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Maybe that means sneaking away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
- Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
- Politely begin walking towards a spot where you can hear and focus better. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially essential for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have trouble hearing or experience hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of effort. You may find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking frequent breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Invest in some hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
Every conversation with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people 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 recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everybody’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t need to navigate the holidays alone
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like no one understands what you’re going through, 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 challenges.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.