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 follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up 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 laugh and play. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Gatherings

Get-togethers may be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. 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.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a while. It will give your brain an opportunity to a rest.
  • Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.

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 ride the rails, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip better. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They may 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 might even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

Be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set 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 places 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

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. Taking them out is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays come but once a year. 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. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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