Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? While you are following grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. 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 fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider some tricks that will help you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Gatherings

Get-togethers might be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss is going to make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can ask for priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.

When you get on board, be certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots have 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

You may not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing solutions are.

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