Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? Will you reminisce 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 laugh and play. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Parties

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

  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the middle of the table.
  • Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may 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 extremely helpful.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip better. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may also provide 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. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks early if you want to find out what is possible.

When you get on board, be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t reply 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, let them know you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. 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:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You are not expected to take them out. You can leave them in during an air flight, as well.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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