Gatherings. So many family gatherings.
During the holidays, it most likely seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Usually, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But those family gatherings might feel less inviting when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things 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 designed to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a great way to stay in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones represent a difficult conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. 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 provide additional context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
It’s not uncommon for people to have hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re less likely to become aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication tends to flow a little easier.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to cautiously pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.
Here’s how to deal with it:
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
- For this reason, keep your discussions in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on context clues or read lips.
- There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with holiday cocoa? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
Communicate with the flight crew
So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can be a lot of effort. You will often find yourself exhausted more frequently than before. This means that it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.
One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And no more asking people what they said.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It might take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Everybody 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 like nobody understands what you’re dealing with, and that you have to get through it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they usually are). During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.