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

So, so many family celebrations.

It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the appeal (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to find out what everyone’s been doing all year.

But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

These tips are developed to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

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

When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can sound garbled and hard to understand, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.

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.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
  • People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.

People won’t be as likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. Communication will flow better as a result.

Pick your locations of conversation carefully

During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any delicate subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to carefully pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Perhaps that means moving away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
  • Try to find areas that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • Try to find brightly lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, such as body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
  • When you choose a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Ask your niece to carry on the conversation someplace where it’s a bit quieter.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Politely start walking towards a spot where you can hear and concentrate better. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less apparent? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s extra crucial to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!

Take breaks

When you have hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You may find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you once did. So taking frequent breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, maybe 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.

Every interaction with your family through the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people what they said.

Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.

It may 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. So speak with us about the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

It can seem as if you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you’re not alone. We can help you navigate many of these challenges.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). With the proper approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during 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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