When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From talking over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.
Those Holiday Parties
Get-togethers may be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
- Your expectations have to be managed. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
- Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- If you are sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- In order to feel less alone, request a seat near the center of the table.
- Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Give some visual cues of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
- Step out of the room every now and then. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that get in your way. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. There are some things you can do to make the trip smoother. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
Be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You are not expected to take them out. You can keep them in during an air flight, also.
Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. 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 you are new to it. To help you know what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.