When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with the family? While you are following grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?
Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.
At Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with hearing loss, parties may be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
- Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Move away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
- Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking right at you, they are most likely speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- So you can feel less isolated, request a seat near the middle of the table.
- 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 having a hard time.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
- If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
- Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom 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 may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Make certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t answer when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them 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. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
You might not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:
- A cleaning kit
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will 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 just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.