Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

Get-togethers could be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Be aware of the visual clues. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely talking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.
  • Go out of the room every once in a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • So you can feel less isolated, ask for a seat close to the center of the table.
  • If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more difficult. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges 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

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the speaker. If you want to make the trip better 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 download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

When you get on board, make sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. 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 have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

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

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to take them out. You can keep them on during an air flight, as well.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. 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. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.

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