So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely feels 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 difficult) for this reason. Usually, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to reunite with everyone and find out what they’ve been doing!
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings may seem a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be extremely disheartening and stressful 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 decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
These tips are meant to help make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound muffled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call annoying indeed. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help determine what’s being said. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to slow down a little when talking with you.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
When people are aware that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re less likely to get irritated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet spaces for conversing
You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. Similarly, you should try to cautiously pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.
Handle it like this:
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
- For this reason, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Try to find areas that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Politely begin walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
- 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.
Speak to the flight crew
So what about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
When families are spread out, lots of people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s essential to understand all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. 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 extra visual instructions. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you have hearing loss, communication can become a lot of work. You may find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking regular breaks is essential. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everybody’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays alone
It can feel like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they usually are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.