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

Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.

It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to check in on everybody and see what they’re up to!

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers might feel a little less welcoming. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing feeling when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s lots to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday get-togethers.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.

Phones represent an interesting dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound garbled and hard to understand, and that can certainly be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide added context, and that can help the conversation flow better.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
  • Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
  • People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase too.

People will be less likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.

Find some quiet spaces for talking

You will always want to steer clear of certain topics of conversation throughout 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 carefully choose areas that are quieter for talking.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Possibly that means moving away from the noisy television or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • By the same token, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • You’re looking for spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.
  • When you choose 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:

  • 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.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a spot that has less happening. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially essential for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication provided by the flight crew. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself fatigued more frequently than before. This means that it’s important to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.

Invest in some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.

One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It might take some time to get used 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 be different. So talk to us about the timing.

You don’t have to get through the holidays by yourself

When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if nobody can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you aren’t alone. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even more difficult. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. 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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