So, so many family celebrations.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Typically, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to reunite with everybody and find out what they’re up to!
But those family gatherings may feel less welcoming when you’re dealing with hearing loss. Why is that? 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 resulting feelings of alienation can be especially discouraging and distressing around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, 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 a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.
During holiday gatherings, use these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.
Avoid phone calls – use video instead
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.
Phones represent an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be very hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can certainly be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
It’s not uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s important to let people know if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to slow down a bit when speaking with you.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
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 easier.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
You will always want to steer clear of certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. In a similar way, you should try to carefully pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.
deal with it like this:
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That may mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- When you find a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- By the same token, keep your conversations in areas that are well-lit. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
- You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less going on. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- Suggest that you and your niece go someplace quieter to talk.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings that aren’t as obvious? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially important 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. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual guidelines. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You will frequently find yourself fatigued more often than before. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.
One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family through the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people what they said.
In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take a little time to get used to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. But we can help you with the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.