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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. 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 struggling to hear what everyone is saying?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From talking over drinks at the company party to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Parties

For anyone who has loss of hearing, parties could be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. When someone is looking at you, they are most likely talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Stand away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult because of your loss of hearing. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things that can be done. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer 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 need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you get on board, make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:

  • A cleaning kit
  • Additional accessories
  • Extra batteries or a second charger

Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. Taking them out is not necessary. You can leave them in during an air flight, also.

Lastly, if you don’t already have 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 most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing options are.