When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with the family? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s classic 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 laugh and play. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about some tricks that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.
At Holiday Parties
Get-togethers might be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:
- Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Give some visual hints of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.
- If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Go out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to get in your way. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be hard to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip easier. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. They might offer to take 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 get on board, make sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. 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.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to remove them. You can leave them on while flying, also.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays come but once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.