Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with your family? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend 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 saying?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this season. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider some tricks that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with hearing loss, parties may be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.

Travel Tips

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

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things you can do. Checking 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 vital information. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request 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 certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.

Be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. 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, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps 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 are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority 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 find out what your hearing solutions are.

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