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Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. So many family gatherings.

It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to find out what everyone’s been doing all year.

But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem a little less welcoming. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly disheartening and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot 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 make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.

Steer clear of phone calls – instead, use video calls.

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a great way to stay 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.

Phones represent an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be really difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is very common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).

People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.

Select your locations of conversation wisely

You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously select areas that are quieter for talking.

Here’s how to handle it:

  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more successfully.
  • Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That may mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud football game on the TV.
  • For this reason, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.

Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
  • 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.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially essential for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you have hearing loss, communication can become a lot of work. You may find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s essential to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.

Consider getting hearing aids

How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.

Every conversation with your family over the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

Remember that it might take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until right before the holidays to pick them up. Everybody will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.

You can get help getting through the holidays

It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody can relate to what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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