Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s classic 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 struggling to hear what everyone is saying?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this year. 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 Parties

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

  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. It will give your brain an opportunity to a rest.
  • In order to get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Manage Your Expectations. 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. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Give some visual cues of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.
  • Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that get in your way. Here are a few tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip easier there are some things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be certain to ask a few weeks early if you want to know what is offered.

When you board, be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t reply when they ask if you want 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 make 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. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to remove them. You can leave them on while flying, also.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are functions 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 you are new to it. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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