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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with your family? While you are following grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

Parties may be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Things will be more challenging because of your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • So you can feel less isolated, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
  • Give some visual signs of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip easier there are a few things that can be done. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. 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. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

When you board, make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. You are not expected to take them out. You can leave them on while flying, also.

And if you don’t already 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 are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing solutions are.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.