When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with your family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is saying?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with loss of hearing, get-togethers may be the most difficult challenge. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:
- Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
- Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Find places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Move away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- Give some visual hints of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more challenging because of your loss of hearing. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Step out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are some things that can be done. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.
Be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. 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. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
You may not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. You are not expected to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays come but once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. To help you understand what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.