Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? 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? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. 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 need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about some tricks that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Parties

Get-togethers could be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:

  • In order to feel less alone, request a seat near the center of the table.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more challenging due to your hearing loss. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • Give some visual cues of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that get in your way. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They might 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 could 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. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

Be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots have 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 sure what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not required. You can leave them on during an air flight, also.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing options are.

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