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

So, so many family get-togethers.

It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) because of this. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to reunite with everybody and see what they’ve been doing!

But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family gatherings?

Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be especially discouraging and distressing around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

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

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. It can be really hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. You won’t have better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • Your family and friends to speak a bit slower.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).

People will be less likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little smoother.

Find some quiet areas for talking

You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully avoid specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

Here’s how to handle it:

  • For this reason, keep your conversations in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
  • Try to find spots that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.

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 few things you can do:

  • Quietly direct your niece to a spot that has less happening. Be certain to mention that’s what you’re doing.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
  • 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.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.

Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are fairly spread out. It’s important that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if needed. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of effort. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more frequently than you used to. So taking frequent breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.

Get some hearing aids

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

One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during the holidays easier and more satisfying. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It might take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So talk to us about the timing.

You don’t need to navigate the holidays alone

It can seem as if you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.

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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.