Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As 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 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 control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company get together. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider some tricks that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers may be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • 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. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Stand away from any speakers that may 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.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • Request a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are a few 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 step one. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you board, make sure the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want 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 offered for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. Some spots 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

You may not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. You are not expected to take them out. You can leave them on during an air flight, as well.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing options are.

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