When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? Will you catch up 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? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?
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 loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this season. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.
At Holiday Parties
For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
- Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
- Provide some visual cues of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you having to point it out.
- Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. 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 important things you missed.
- Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things you can do. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Be certain the attendants are aware that 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 about a drink.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not required. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
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 come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing solutions are.