Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you are following grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

Parties may be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • If sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
  • 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 challenging. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • In order to feel less isolated, request a seat near the center of the table.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. There are some things you can do to make the trip smoother. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. 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. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is offered.

When you board, make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

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

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

Wear your hearing aids as you go through security. Removing them is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing solutions are.

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