So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to check in on everyone and see what they’ve been doing!
But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially distressing experience when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.
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 Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to stay in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is incredibly common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase also.
- Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
- A quieter place to talk.
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a bit easier.
Select your areas of conversation wisely
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to carefully choose spaces that are quieter for talking.
Handle it like this:
- For this reason, keep your discussions in areas that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
- There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
- When you find a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
- Try to find areas that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.
- Ask your niece to carry on the conversation somewhere where it’s a bit quieter.
Communicate with the flight crew
So what about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?
When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. It’s crucial that you can comprehend all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s important not to miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more frequently than before. As a result, it’s essential to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It could take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. So talk to us about the timing.
You don’t have to get through the holidays alone
It can feel like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
Holidays can be tough enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.