Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions 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? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

For people with hearing loss, parties might be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are probably speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your hearing loss is going to make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • So you can feel less isolated, request a seat close to the center of the table.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things that can be done. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is possible.

Be certain the attendants are aware that 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.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

  • Extra batteries or a second charger
  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You are not expected to take them out. You can leave them on while flying, also.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays only come once a year. 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. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.