Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? 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 listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Parties
For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:
- Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
- If sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine 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.
- Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
- So you can feel less isolated, request a seat near the middle of the table.
Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you want to make the trip smoother there are some things you can do. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They might 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 may also provide 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 ask for priority seating. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks early if you want to know what is possible.
Be sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not required. You can leave them on during an air flight, also.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe 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 are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.