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 probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to find out what everybody’s been doing all year.

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be extremely discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

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

Steer clear of phone calls – instead, use video calls.

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends and family. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.

Phones present an interesting conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be very hard to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that can certainly be frustrating. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that can help the conversation flow better.

Be honest with people

Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s crucial to let people know if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

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

People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little smoother.

Select your locations of conversation carefully

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to mention it. Similarly, you should try to carefully select spaces that are quieter for talking.

Handle it like this:

  • Try to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Possibly that means moving away from the noisy television or removing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
  • Try to find places that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).

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

  • Politely start walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And don’t forget 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 reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.

Speak to the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that aren’t as apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s important to understand all the instructions and communication provided by the flight crew. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual instructions. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you have hearing loss, communication can become a lot of effort. You might find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you used to. So taking regular breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, perhaps 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 significant affect on relationships.

One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat themselves.

Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.

Keep in mind that it might take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Everybody will have a different experience. So talk to us about the timing.

You can get help getting through the holidays

It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

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

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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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