So, so many family get-togethers.
During the holidays, it most likely feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to reunite with everybody and see what they’re up to!
But those family gatherings may feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?
Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s lots to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones present a particular challenge. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. 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 crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to slow down a little bit when talking with you.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little smoother.
Find some quiet spaces for conversing
You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation during the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any delicate subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously avoid specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.
deal with it like this:
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That may mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- For this reason, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Attempt to find areas that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a bit quieter.
- Politely begin walking to a spot where you can hear and focus better. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings that aren’t as obvious? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly important for families that are fairly spread out. It’s crucial that you can comprehend all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of effort. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more frequently than before. So taking regular breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Remember that it might take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to pick them up. Of course, everyone’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you’re not alone. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the right approach.