You Can Still Have a Wonderful Holiday Season Despite Hearing Loss

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

So, so many family celebrations.

It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’ve been doing!

But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

These tips are developed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday get-togethers.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that can certainly be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to slow down a little bit when talking with you.
  • A quieter place to have conversations.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.

When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.

Select your locations of conversation carefully

You will always want to avoid certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously avoid specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

deal with it like this:

  • When you choose a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
  • There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That might mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Attempt to find places that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.
  • By the same token, keep your conversations in areas that are well-lit. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
  • 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.

Communicate with the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less apparent? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.

When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can understand all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s really essential to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual instructions. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can become a lot of effort. You may find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you once did. So taking regular breaks is essential. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Get some hearing aids

How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!

Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.

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

Keep in mind that it may take you some time to get used to your hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t have to get through the holidays alone

It can feel as if you’re by yourself 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 affects your personality. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even more difficult. At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the right strategy.

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.