Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? 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 catch the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud 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 some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

For people with hearing loss, parties might be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:

  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • If sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Move away from any speakers that might 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.
  • Go out of the room every once in a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the center of the table.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are flying or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. 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 get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may also provide priority boarding, for example, 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. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be certain to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.

Make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that 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.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to take with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. Taking them out is not necessary. You can keep them on while flying, as well.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can 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 just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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