When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? While you follow grandma’s classic 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? While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take control 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 have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Gatherings
For people with loss of hearing, parties might be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:
- Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- If sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat near the middle of the table.
- Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. When someone is looking right at you, they are most likely talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- Provide some visual cues of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.
- Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Taking The Train or Flying
It can be hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip easier. 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 information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could 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 bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
Be certain the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.
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 such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
You might not be certain what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
Finally, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality 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 everything you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if you are new to it. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing solutions are.