You Can Still Enjoy the 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 probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) because of this. Typically, 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 when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers may feel a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially distressing experience when it happens around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s lots to see during 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.

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

Use video chat instead of phone calls

For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch. That’s particularly 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 with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that can certainly be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide added context, and that can help the conversation flow better.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • A quieter place to talk.
  • Your friends and family to talk a little slower.

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

Find some quiet spaces for talking

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to carefully select spaces that are quieter for conversations.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • By the same token, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
  • When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
  • Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.

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

  • Politely start walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.

Speak to the flight crew

So how about less apparent impacts 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 significant for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more frequently than before. So taking frequent breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Consider getting hearing aids

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

One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family through the holidays smoother and more fulfilling. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.

In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

Remember that it might take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will differ. So talk to us about the timing.

You don’t have to navigate the holidays by yourself

It can seem as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. We can help you get through many of these challenges.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the right approach.

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.