So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it probably feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative almost every weekend. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to reunite with everybody and see what they’re up to!
But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be extremely discouraging and distressing around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, 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 a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help figure out what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
It’s not uncommon for people to have hearing loss. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- Conversations to take place in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
- Your family and friends to speak a bit slower.
- People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase too.
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little bit easier.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
You will always want to steer clear of certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously pick areas that are quieter for talking.
deal with it like this:
- By the same token, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
- Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.
- Try to find places that have less activity and fewer people going by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- 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.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a bit quieter.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are pretty spread out. It’s essential that you can understand all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of effort. You will frequently find yourself fatigued more often than before. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, 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 greatest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
Remember that it could take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Of course, everyone’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.
You don’t have to get through the holidays by yourself
It can seem as if you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they usually are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct approach.