Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with the family? While you are following grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce 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?
Loss of hearing 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 party. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.
Those Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with loss of hearing, parties might be the biggest challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
- Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
- If there are any speakers which 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.
- If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
- Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
- Visual clues should be carefully noted. If someone is looking at you, they are probably talking to you. Tell them that you didn’t hear what they said.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
- Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. 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. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
Be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.
Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.