Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be laughing with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this season. You don’t need to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider some tricks that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

For anyone who has hearing loss, parties may be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tips that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are probably talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • In order to feel less isolated, request a seat near the middle of the table.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Provide some visual signs of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the obstacles 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

It can be difficult 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 a few things you can do. Checking 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 may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for 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. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you board, make sure the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flashlights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flashlights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

You might not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.