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

So, so many family get-togethers.

It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Normally, this kind of annual catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be extremely discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed 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

There’s a lot to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and 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 pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday gatherings, use these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

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

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. It can be very hard to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Be honest with people

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

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

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

Pick your areas of conversation wisely

During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any sensitive subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully avoid specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.

Here’s how to handle it:

  • Try to find well lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • Try to find areas that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
  • When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
  • 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.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece begins talking to you? In cases like this, there are a few 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.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers that are less apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are fairly spread out. It’s crucial that you can understand all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You might find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. This means that it’s essential to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Consider investing in hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.

Every interaction with your family over the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It could take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like nobody can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these dilemmas.

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