Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? While you are following grandma’s classic 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? While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.
At Holiday Parties
For anyone who has loss of hearing, parties might be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you having to point it out.
- Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
- In order to feel less isolated, request a seat near the center of the table.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that stop you. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things that can be done. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks early if you want to find out what is provided.
Make sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. 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.
If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Lots of 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 are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Taking them out is not required. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing solutions are.