When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?
Loss of hearing doesn’t have 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 enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.
Those Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with loss of hearing, parties might be the biggest challenge. Here are some tips that will make the experience less stressful:
- Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Go out of the room every now and then. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
- If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. 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. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that get in your way. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are a few things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is provided.
When you get on board, make certain the attendants know 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.
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 like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. Removing them is not required. 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 are a once a year occasion. 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 you are new to it. To help you know what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.