When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be laughing with them? Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From talking 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 year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.
At Holiday Parties
For people with hearing loss, parties could be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Give some visual cues of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to point it out.
- Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
- Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
- Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
- To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- If you are sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.
Make certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t respond when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- A cleaning kit
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.