So, so many family celebrations.
It probably seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Typically, this type of annual catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’ve been doing!
But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing experience when it happens around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.
Avoid phone calls – use video instead
Zoom calls can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. If you have hearing loss, this is particularly true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try using video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
Phones represent a difficult dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and hard to understand, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase as well.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
- Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
When people recognize that you have hearing loss, they’re less likely to become irritated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little smoother.
Pick your areas of conversation wisely
You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to mention it. When you have hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
Handle it like this:
- Try to find spots that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
- Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. Possibly that means moving away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
- Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
- Quietly direct your niece to a spot that has less going on. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings that aren’t as obvious? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are pretty spread out. It’s important that you can understand all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than before. This means that it’s important to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more importantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.
Invest in some hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to get through it all alone. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they usually are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.