When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. 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 having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company party 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 need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Gatherings
Get-togethers could be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:
- Give some visual hints of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to point it out.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- If you are sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
- Go out of the room every now and then. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
- Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
- Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
- Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your hearing loss is going to make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
- 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.
Don’t permit the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are a few recommendations to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things that can be done. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
When you get on board, make sure the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.
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. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
You may not be sure what to take 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 go through security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing options are.