Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

Hearing loss doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

Parties may be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. When someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip smoother there are some things that can be done. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could also provide 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. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

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

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make 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. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. 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 everything you remember. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.