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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 getting ready with the family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers may be the most difficult challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Maybe you could have a friend 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.
  • Stand away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • So you can feel less alone, request a seat near the middle of the table.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Things will be more challenging due to your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They might 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. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is offered.

When you get on board, make sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as 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

You might not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you go through security. You are not expected to take them out. You can leave them in during an air flight, as well.

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

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