When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow 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? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?
Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.
At Holiday Parties
For people with loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
- Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
- Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
- Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
- If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
- Go out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can ask for priority seating. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Be sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. 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 make sure.
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 offered for those who have hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
You may not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. Removing them is not required. You can keep them in during an air flight, as well.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing solutions are.