Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the appeal (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Typically, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to learn what everyone’s been up to all year.
But those family get-togethers 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 get-togethers?
Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s lots to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.
Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead
Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
Phones present an interesting conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t have better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide additional context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s important to tell people if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to repeat things, but asking that they rephrase too.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
- Your friends and family to speak a little slower.
People won’t be as likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any delicate subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to carefully pick areas that are quieter for talking.
Here’s how to handle it:
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that loud sporting event on the TV.
- When you find a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- Try to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
- Try to find places that have less motion and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece begins talking to you? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
- 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.
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less obvious? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can comprehend all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s important not to miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You might find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s important to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Invest in some hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Remember that it could take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays by yourself
When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel like no one can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all alone. In this way, it’s kind of 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 have to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right strategy.