Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you catch up 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? As 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 struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company get together 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 have to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

For anyone who has loss of hearing, parties might be the biggest challenge. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • In order to get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • So you can feel less isolated, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are a few tips to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They might 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 even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. 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. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

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

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

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

Lastly, if you don’t 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 celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing solutions are.