So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to reunite with everyone and find out what they’ve been doing!
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers may seem a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be especially discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are developed to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a great way to keep in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones throughout the holidays.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound garbled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. You won’t have better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer added context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s crucial to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to slow down a little when talking with you.
- Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little easier.
Choose your areas of conversation carefully
You will always want to avoid certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to carefully choose areas that are quieter for conversations.
Handle it like this:
- There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud sporting event on the TV.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
- Try to find well lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Attempt to find spots that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
Okay, okay, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
- Politely begin walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that aren’t as apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with additional visual instructions. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You might find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you used to. So taking regular breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a break.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.
One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family over the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.
It could take a little time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everybody’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like no one can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all alone. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you’re not alone. We can help you navigate many of these dilemmas.
Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.