Gatherings. So many family gatherings.
It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’ve been doing!
But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers might feel a little less inviting. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing sensation when it happens around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
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’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.
During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with family and friends. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones throughout the holidays.
Phones present an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be really hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can certainly be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have much 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 crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- A quieter place to talk.
- People to slow down a little bit when talking with you.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
People will be less likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little easier.
Find some quiet spaces for talking
You will always want to steer clear of certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any sensitive subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.
Here’s how to handle it:
- You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud sporting event on the TV.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
- For this reason, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Ask your niece to carry on the conversation someplace where it’s a bit quieter.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
When families are spread out, many people need to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s essential to comprehend all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s really important to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if needed. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you have hearing loss, communication can become a lot of effort. You may find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.
Get some hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.
One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It could take a little 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
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these challenges.
Holidays can be tough enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even harder. With the right approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.