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Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

So, so many family get-togethers.

It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also challenging) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to find out what everyone’s been up to all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly disheartening and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

Around 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 be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.

Avoid phone calls – use video instead

For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones throughout the holidays.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. It can be very difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help determine what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Be honest with people

It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s essential to let people know if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • A quieter place to have conversations.
  • Your family and friends to speak a bit slower.

When people are aware that you have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little smoother.

Choose your locations of conversation carefully

Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

deal with it like this:

  • Try to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
  • Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous football game on the TV.
  • When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to talk.
  • Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?

Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially essential for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more often than you used to. As a result, it’s essential to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Invest in some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!

Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat what they said.

Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

It might take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. It’s like hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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