Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you are following grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider some tips that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

Parties could be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. Here are some suggestions that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the middle of the table.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are probably speaking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging due to your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • Provide some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could 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 important, you can ask for priority seating. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be certain to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is provided.

When you board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are available for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

You may not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not required. You can keep them in while flying, also.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays only come once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing solutions are.