When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with the family? While you are following grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. 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 enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
Hearing loss doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From talking over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Parties
For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers might be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:
- In order to feel less alone, request a seat near the middle of the table.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
- Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss is going to make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
- Give some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
- Go out of the room every once in a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
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
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip better there are some things you can do. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be sure to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is offered.
When you get on board, make certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack
You may not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not required. You can leave them in while flying, as well.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays only come once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.