So, so many family celebrations.
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. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to check in on everyone and see what they’re up to!
But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings may feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?
Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing feeling when it happens around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, 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 are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
These tips are designed to help make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones represent an interesting dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be really hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide added context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s crucial to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- A quieter place to talk.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
People won’t be as likely to become annoyed 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 areas for talking
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. Similarly, you should try to cautiously choose spaces that are quieter for conversations.
deal with it like this:
- There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous football game on the TV.
- By the same token, keep your discussions in areas that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
- Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- Try to find areas that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.
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 few things you can do:
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less going on. 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.
Speak to the flight crew
So how about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s important to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual instructions. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
When you have hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of work. You might find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s important to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Get some hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
Every interaction with your family over the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Keep in mind that it might take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So talk to us about the timing.
You don’t have to navigate the holidays alone
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if no one can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all by yourself. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these challenges.
Holidays can be tough enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. With the correct approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.