Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Gatherings

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

  • Provide some visual hints of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • If sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Tell them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • In order to feel less isolated, ask for a seat near the middle of the table.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the speaker. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

Be certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. 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

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You are not expected to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

Finally, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing options are.

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