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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with your family? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s classic 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 struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

Loss of hearing doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

Get-togethers might be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Stand away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • In order to get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
  • If listening to a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Give some visual cues of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to stop you. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are flying or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip better. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can ask for priority seating. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is offered.

When you board, be sure the attendants are aware 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.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

You might not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. Removing them is not required. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.