So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to find out what everyone’s been doing all year.
But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing feeling when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed 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 school is going for Julie, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
These tips are meant to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – use video instead
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a great way to keep in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound muffled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- People to slow down a bit when speaking with you.
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
People will be less likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little bit easier.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to mention it. Similarly, you should try to carefully select spaces that are quieter for talking.
Handle it like this:
- By the same token, keep your conversations in places that are well-lit. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
- When you find a spot to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy television or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece begins talking to you? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. Be certain to mention that’s what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less apparent impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?
When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will often find yourself fatigued more often than you used to. This means that it’s important to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
Every conversation with your family over the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. So talk to us about the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like nobody can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all by yourself. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they normally are). With the correct approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.