Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.

It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to learn what everyone’s been doing all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s lots to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.

These tips are developed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.

Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.

For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a great way to stay in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. It can be very hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.

Be honest with people

Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • People to slow down a bit when speaking with you.
  • A quieter place to have conversations.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.

When people know that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to get aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.

Find some quiet areas for talking

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously avoid specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.

deal with it like this:

  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
  • Try to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
  • Attempt to find areas that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more effectively.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece starts talking to you? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
  • Politely begin walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings that aren’t as obvious? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s important to understand all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You may find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s essential to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Consider getting hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, in many ways!

One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family over the holidays easier and more satisfying. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

Keep in mind that it may take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until right before the holidays to pick them up. Everyone will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.

You don’t have to get through the holidays alone

When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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