Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

So, so many family get-togethers.

It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to find out what everybody’s been doing all year.

But those family get-togethers might feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing experience when it occurs around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much 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 get-togethers.

Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones present a particular challenge. The voice on the other end can sound muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call annoying 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.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is very common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase too.
  • Your friends and family to talk a little slower.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).

People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little bit smoother.

Select your locations of conversation wisely

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. When you have hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.

Handle it like this:

  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
  • Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That might mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.
  • Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.

Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. Be sure to mention that’s what you’re doing.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.

Communicate with the flight crew

So what about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are pretty 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 problems hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual instructions. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You may find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s important to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Consider investing in hearing aids

How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.

One of the major advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And no more asking people what they said.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It may take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until right before the holidays to get them. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. So speak with us about the timing.

You don’t have to get through the holidays by yourself

It can seem as if you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you’re not alone. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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