Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with the family? While you are following 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 girlfriend or watch 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?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Parties
Parties could be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- Pay attention to the visual clues. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
- Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
- In order to feel less isolated, request a seat close to the center of the table.
- Go out of the room every once in a while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
- Maybe there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
- If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
- If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip easier there are some things that can be done. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can ask for priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks early if you want to know what is provided.
When you board, make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. 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.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
You may not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You are not expected to remove them. You can leave them on while flying, as well.
Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything 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, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.