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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

For people with hearing loss, get-togethers could be the biggest challenge. Here are some suggestions that will make the experience less stressful:

  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have an opportunity to a rest.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Provide some visual cues of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip easier. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is offered.

When you board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t reply when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Replacement batteries or a second charger

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to remove them. You can keep them in during an air flight, as well.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays only come once a year. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care expert to find out what your hearing solutions are.