Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with the family? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfortable 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 laugh and play. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. 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 experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.

At Holiday Parties

Parties may be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Give some visual signs of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging due to your hearing loss. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some suggestions to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few 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. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is offered.

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

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have 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 might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:

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

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. Removing them is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing options are.

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