When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be laughing with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. 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 season. You don’t need to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about some tricks that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.
At Holiday Get-Togethers
For anyone who has hearing loss, get-togethers may be the biggest challenge. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:
- To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
- 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 little bit so you can hear better, too.
- Provide some visual hints of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
- Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
- Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip better there are a few things that can be done. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. You can request 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 ask a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is provided.
Make sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.
If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
As you go through security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to remove them. You can keep them on during an air flight, also.
Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays come but once a year. There is no 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.