When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about some tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.
Those Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with hearing loss, parties could be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
- If you are listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Go out of the room every once in a while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
- Stand away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
- Provide some visual signs of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
- Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are a few tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. 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 offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Be certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about 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 including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. You are not expected to remove them. You can keep them in during an air flight, as well.
Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing options are.