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

So, so many family get-togethers.

It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.

But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers may feel a little less welcoming. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing experience when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

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 developed to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.

Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to stay in touch. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.

Phones represent a difficult dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call annoying indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is extremely common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
  • Your friends and family to speak a bit slower.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.

People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little bit smoother.

Find some quiet spaces for talking

During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to cautiously select spaces that are quieter for talking.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
  • Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Maybe that means moving away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • By the same token, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. 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 starts talking to you? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:

  • Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less going on. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to talk.
  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.

Communicate with the flight crew

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

When families are spread out, lots of people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s important to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have problems hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You may find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s essential to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Get some hearing aids

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

One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays easier and more rewarding. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t have to navigate the holidays alone

It can feel as if you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they normally are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the right 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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