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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy 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 catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From chatting over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Gatherings

Parties might be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss is going to make things more difficult. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • In order to feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the center of the table.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t let that stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

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. There are a few 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. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. 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. Be certain to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is possible.

Make sure 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 fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Extra batteries or a second charger

Wear your hearing aids as you go through security. You are not expected to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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