As the holiday season approaches more and more people are planning their family gatherings and counting down the days! The holidays are known for gathering, good food, and creating memories. However, those of us who suffer from hearing loss may experience anxiety and social isolation around this time of year. While every family is different, and everyone with hearing loss copes differently as well, here are some sure-fire tips on how to enjoy the holidays, even with hearing loss.
1. Converse with people near you
While at the dinner table it is probably best to speak to those within a good reach from you. It may be difficult to try to participate in ‘across the table’ conversations. If you wish to speak to someone who is sitting at a far distance, move closer to them, or ask them to move to a quieter area for conversation.
2. Avoid background noise
Some hosts play background music that is much too loud to understand anyone around them, it’s okay to ask for the volume to be turned down. If the gathering is in multiple rooms of a house, find a more quieter area and converse with others near you.
3. Give it a rest, don’t tire yourself out
Your brain and ears may become restless trying to keep up with all the conversations flowing within the room, so take a break. Allow yourself some time to regroup your own thoughts, gain some more energy, and refresh your mind. Taking a quick step outside or going to the bathroom to give yourself some time is totally okay. Remember, the holidays are like a marathon not a sprint, so it’s okay to give your brain a break.
4. Don’t pretend
It’s always better to be honest with those around you if you are unable to hear or understand what’s being said. While it’s tempting to pretend you’re able to hear what everyone around you is saying and simply nod and laugh along, this can become tiresome very quickly. Giving visual cues or simply speaking up when you’re having difficulty understanding others is important. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about either, letting others know when to speak up a bit is very effective.
5. Wear your hearing aids
While this last and final tip may be the most obvious ones, you’d be surprised how many people opt not to wear their hearing aids due to the stigma behind them. Hearing aids are built to help you have better quality hearing, reconnect you with others, and bring your voice back to the table (the dinner table in this instance).
Lori Cook is a Hearing Aid Specialist with over seventeen years’ experience in the hearing healthcare industry. With a bachelor of arts in psychology and a master of science in social work from the University of Texas systems, Lori has a deep sense of concern both for her patients and her community.