Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? Will you catch up 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? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you struggling 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 party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with hearing loss, get-togethers could be the most difficult challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:

  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Request a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.

Travel Tips

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

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the intercom. There are some things you can do to make the trip smoother. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

Make sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. 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, let them know you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with 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

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. You do not need to remove them. You can leave them in during an air flight, also.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. There is no 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 understand what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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