Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you are following grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy 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 listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. 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. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

Get-togethers may be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more difficult. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will give your brain an opportunity to a rest.
  • In order to feel less isolated, request a seat close to the center of the table.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some suggestions to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip easier there are some things you can do. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even provide 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 take you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is possible.

When you get on board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are available for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

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

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. Removing them is not necessary. You can keep them in during an air flight, as well.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. To help you understand what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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