So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.
But those family get-togethers might feel less welcoming when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially distressing feeling when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s a lot to see around 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 pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are designed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is very common. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
- A quieter place to talk.
People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. Communication will flow better as a result.
Find some quiet spaces for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any delicate subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
Handle it like this:
- Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
- Attempt to find spots that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more effectively.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means moving away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? 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. When you fly, it’s essential to comprehend all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra essential to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s important not to miss anything!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than you used to. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Invest in some hearing aids
How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.
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 rewarding. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays by yourself
It can seem like you’re alone sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right approach.