Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with your family? While you are following grandma’s famous 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? As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? 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 talking 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 season. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For anyone who has hearing loss, get-togethers may be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. When someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Provide some visual cues of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.

Travel Tips

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

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. There are some things you can do to make the trip easier. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. 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 offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

Be sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t respond when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Some fundamentals to pack include:

  • A cleaning kit
  • Additional accessories
  • Extra batteries or a second charger

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Removing them is not required. You can leave them in while flying, also.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care expert to find out what your hearing solutions are.