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

So, so many family celebrations.

During the holiday seasons, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings may feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can impede 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 sensation when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.

These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing 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 fantastic way to stay in touch. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. It can be really difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer added context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s crucial to tell people if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
  • People to repeat what they said, but asking that they rephrase as well.
  • A quieter place to talk.

People won’t be as likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little easier.

Find some quiet areas for conversing

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any delicate subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to carefully select areas that are quieter for talking.

Here’s how to handle it:

  • Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
  • By the same token, keep your conversations in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be capable of picking up on context clues or read lips.
  • Try to find 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 sporting event on the TV.
  • 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.

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

  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
  • Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less going on. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are pretty spread out. It’s essential that you can understand all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure 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. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

It can be lots of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You might find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you once did. So taking frequent breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.

Consider getting hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.

One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.

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

It might take a little time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Naturally, everyone’s experience will be different. So speak with us about the timing.

You can get help getting through the holidays

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 get through it all alone. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.

Holidays can be difficult enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even more difficult. At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right 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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