Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? 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 dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

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 talking over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Parties

Get-togethers may be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. It will give your brain an opportunity to a rest.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat near the middle of the table.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to 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.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking at you, they are most likely talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.

Travel Tips

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

Flying or Taking the Train

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 smoother. 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 download on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request 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. Be sure to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is possible.

Make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

You might not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not required. You can leave them in during an air flight, as well.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing solutions are.

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