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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? 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 fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:

  • Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
  • Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss is going to make things more difficult. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to stop you. Here are a few suggestions to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. 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 get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you get on board, be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

You might not be certain what to take 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

Wear your hearing aids as you go through 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, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. To help you know what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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