Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the appeal (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Typically, this sort of annual catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to reunite with everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers might seem a little less welcoming. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing experience when it happens during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.
These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – instead, use video calls.
For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a good way to stay in touch. If you have hearing loss, this is particularly true. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
Phones present an interesting conundrum when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be really hard to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call annoying indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Tell people the truth
Hearing loss is incredibly common. It’s essential to tell people if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase also.
- Your family and friends to talk a bit slower.
- Conversations to take place in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
When people are aware that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re less likely to become annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.
Select your locations of conversation carefully
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to mention it. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully avoid specific areas in a home which make hearing conversations more challenging.
Here’s how to deal with it:
- Attempt to find places that have less activity and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you read lips as a result).
- By the same token, keep your conversations in settings that are well-lit. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
- Try to pick an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. That might mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? There are a couple of things you can do in cases like these:
- Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.
- 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.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers that are less apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are fairly spread out. It’s essential that you can understand all of the instructions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s really important to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if necessary. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You may find yourself getting more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, in a lot of ways!
One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
Remember that it may 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. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. 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 as if no one can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to do it all alone. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of worry or anxiety (that is, any more than they normally are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right approach.