When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? 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 having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Parties
Parties could be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
- In order to feel less alone, request a seat near the middle of the table.
- Give some visual hints of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
- Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
- If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
- Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip smoother. 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 info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.
When you board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.
If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. Taking them out is not necessary. You can leave them in during an air flight, also.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if you are new to it. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing solutions are.