So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Typically, this kind of annual catching up is something that’s easy to look forward to. You get to find out what everyone’s been up to all year.
But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers might seem a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly disheartening and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s so much to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Avoid phone calls – use video instead
Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues to help figure out what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer added context, and that can help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s crucial to let people know if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to slow down a little bit when speaking with you.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication tends to flow a little easier.
Find some quiet spaces for talking
You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. Similarly, you should try to cautiously pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.
Handle it like this:
- Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to deal with.
- Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Try to find areas 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 speaking with you (and help you read lips as a result).
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece starts talking to you? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:
- Politely start walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
- 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.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that aren’t as apparent? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. It’s crucial that you can understand all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you additional visual guidelines. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more often than before. So taking regular breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.
Get some hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
One of the greatest benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family over the holidays smoother and more satisfying. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.
It could take a little time to get used to your new hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.
You don’t need to get through the holidays alone
It can seem as if you’re by yourself sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you aren’t alone. You can navigate many of the difficulties with our help.
Holidays can be difficult enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. With the correct approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.