Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this season. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

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

  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Step 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 an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging because of your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Stand away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that stop you. 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. If you want to make the trip better there are a few things that can be done. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is offered.

Make certain the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set 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 lots of resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

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

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You are not expected to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can 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 shouldn’t be everything you remember. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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