So, so many family get-togethers.
During the holidays, it probably feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative every other weekend. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?
Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing feeling when it happens during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are developed to help make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. It can be really difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on 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. Conversations will flow better 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 crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase too.
- People to slow down a bit when talking with you.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
When people recognize that you have hearing loss, they’re less likely to become irritated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication tends to flow a bit smoother.
Pick your locations of conversation carefully
You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation during the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any sensitive subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously choose areas that are quieter for talking.
Handle it like this:
- Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. Perhaps that means moving away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- Try to find areas that have less activity and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
- Try to find brightly lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. Be sure to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- Ask your niece to carry on the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
- 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 apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly important for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really significant to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!
When you have hearing loss, communication can become a lot of work. You might find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. So taking regular breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Get some hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people what they said.
In other words, 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 you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all alone. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.