Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? 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. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Gatherings
Parties could be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
- Visual clues should be carefully noted. When someone is looking right at you, they are most likely talking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to think 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 stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. 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 could even offer 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 take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Be sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. 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. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. Taking them out is not required. You can keep them in during an air flight, as well.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. To help you understand what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.