Gatherings. So many family gatherings.
During the holiday seasons, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative every other weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to find out what everyone’s been doing all year.
But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family get-togethers?
Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be particularly disheartening and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
These tips are designed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.
Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends. That’s particularly 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 during the holidays.
Phones present an interesting dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be very hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Choose your locations of conversation carefully
Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any sensitive subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
deal with it like this:
- When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
- Attempt to find places that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
- Try to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on context clues or read lips.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Maybe that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in situations like these:
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Quietly direct your niece to a spot that has less going on. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
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.
Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are fairly spread out. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!
When you have hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of work. You will often find yourself fatigued more often than you used to. So taking frequent breaks is essential. This will give your ears, and, maybe more importantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear at this point, in a lot of ways!
Every conversation with your family through the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
Bear in mind that it may 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. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. But we can help you with the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if nobody can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all by yourself. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.