Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with the family? While you are following grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and relaxing 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 enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Parties

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

  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a while. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. If someone is looking right at you, they are most likely speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Give some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • 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 hearing loss will definitely make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. If you want to make the trip better there are some things that can be done. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request 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.

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

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots 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 Pack

You might not be certain what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not necessary. You can leave them in during an air flight, as well.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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