Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’ve been doing!
But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?
Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be particularly disheartening and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s a lot to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are designed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones during the holidays.
While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, 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.
Be honest with people
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. It’s essential to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
- A quieter place to talk.
People won’t be as likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little bit smoother.
Choose your areas of conversation wisely
During 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 people to mention it. 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 challenging.
Here’s how to handle it:
- Attempt to find spots that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more effectively.
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous football game on the TV.
- By the same token, keep your conversations in areas that are well-lit. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:
- Politely start walking to a spot where you can hear and concentrate better. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to chat.
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less apparent? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really important to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if necessary. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you have hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of effort. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than before. So taking frequent breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Get some hearing aids
How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!
One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during 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 could take a little time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays by yourself
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all alone. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. We can help you navigate many of these dilemmas.
Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.