Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

So, so many family get-togethers.

During the holiday seasons, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative almost every weekend. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Usually, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to check in on everybody and find out what they’ve been doing!

But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously effected 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. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

These tips are meant to help make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular challenge. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s essential to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • People to slow down a bit when talking with you.
  • People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase too.
  • Conversations to happen 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. Communication will flow better as a result.

Find some quiet spaces 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 bring up touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • By the same token, keep your conversations in settings that are well-lit. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
  • Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • Attempt to find spots that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more successfully.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.

Speak to the flight crew

So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are pretty spread out. It’s crucial that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s extra significant to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of work. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than before. So taking frequent breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a break.

Get some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.

One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays smoother and more fulfilling. And no more asking people what they said.

Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t have to navigate the holidays by yourself

When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if nobody understands what you’re dealing with, and that you have to get through it all alone. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.

Holidays can be tough enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct strategy.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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