When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?
Loss of hearing 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 din of holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider some tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.
Those Holiday Gatherings
Get-togethers may be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- Give some visual signs of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
- If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
- If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
- To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
- Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
- Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. 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 a few things you can do to make the trip better. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They could 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. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
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 about a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots are set up with 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 trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
And if you don’t already have 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. 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. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing options are.