Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? Will you reminisce with each other while following 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? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider some tricks that will allow you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Parties

For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the biggest challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Provide some visual hints of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
  • In order to feel less alone, request a seat close to the center of the table.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Stand away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Flying or Taking the Train

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

When you board, be certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. 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

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

You may not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. Removing them is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to find out what your hearing solutions are.

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