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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with your family? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfortable 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 laughing and playing. Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with hearing loss, parties could be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tips:

  • Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Provide some visual cues of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more difficult. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • If there are any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.

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 hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip better there are some things you can do. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is provided.

Be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t respond when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

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

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

Wear your hearing aids as you go through security. You do not need to take them out. You can leave them on while flying, as well.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are functions 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 had hearing loss your whole life or if it’s more recent. To help you know what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.