Hearing Health Blog

Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.

It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Usually, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to reunite with everybody and see what they’re up to!

But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected 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 sensation when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s a lot to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family. If you’re dealing with 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 during the holidays.

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can sound garbled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer added context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • A quieter place to have conversations.

People won’t be as likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.

Find some quiet areas for conversing

During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. In a similar way, you should try to carefully select spaces that are quieter for conversations.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That may mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Try to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • Try to find areas that have less activity and fewer people going by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more effectively.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.

Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.

Communicate with the flight crew

So what about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. It’s essential that you can understand all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra crucial to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or experience hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s important not to miss anything!

Take breaks

When you have hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of work. You might find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.

Get some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.

One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more satisfying. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

Bear in mind that it might take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t have to navigate the holidays alone

When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if no one can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to get through it all alone. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of worry or anxiety (that is, any more than they typically are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct strategy.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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