So, so many family celebrations.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) because of this. Normally, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to check in on everybody and find out what they’ve been doing!
But those family gatherings may feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly disturbing feeling when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s lots to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pond hockey team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are designed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try using video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones present an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be very hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can certainly be frustrating. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer additional context, and that can help the conversation flow better.
Be honest with people
It isn’t uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
- A quieter place to talk.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
When people are aware that you have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become irritated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any delicate subject matter. Similarly, you should try to carefully select areas that are quieter for conversations.
deal with it like this:
- Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud sporting event on the TV.
- You’re looking for spaces with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
Alright, alright, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less happening. Be certain to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that are less obvious? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
When families are spread out, many people need to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s important to understand all the directions and communication provided by the flight crew. Which is why it’s really important to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if necessary. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will often find yourself fatigued more frequently than before. So taking regular breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Invest in some hearing aids
How does hearing loss affect relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
Every conversation with your family over the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
It could take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Naturally, everybody’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t have to navigate the holidays alone
It can seem like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
Holidays can be hard enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the right strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.