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

So, so many family celebrations.

During the holiday seasons, it most likely feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) because of this. Usually, this sort of annual catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to find out what everybody’s been up to all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less welcoming when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing experience when it happens during 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

There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and 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.

During holiday gatherings, use these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. It can be very hard to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, 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.

Be honest with people

It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. It’s important to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • People to slow down a bit when talking with you.
  • People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase too.
  • A quieter place to have conversations.

People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.

Find some quiet areas for talking

You will always want to steer clear of certain topics of conversation during 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. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously avoid specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.

Handle it like this:

  • You’re looking for spaces with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people talking to you (and help you lip read as a result).
  • Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
  • For this reason, keep your conversations in areas that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on context clues or read lips.
  • Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.

Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:

  • Quietly direct your niece to a spot that has less happening. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are fairly spread out. It’s crucial that you can understand all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra important to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if necessary. 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 will frequently find yourself fatigued more often than before. So taking frequent breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Invest in some hearing aids

How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.

One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And no more asking people what they said.

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

It could take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. So speak with us about the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

It can seem like you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they normally are). With the correct approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around 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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