Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with the family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? 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 fighting to hear what everyone is saying?
The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. 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. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Parties
Get-togethers may be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:
- In order to feel less alone, request a seat near the center of the table.
- Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Maybe there is a quiet place in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you might have missed.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having a hard time.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
- Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
- Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. 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 loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. There are some things you can do to make the trip smoother. To begin with, call the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is possible.
When you get on board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t respond when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.
If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:
- Additional accessories
- A cleaning kit
- Extra batteries or a second charger
As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to take them out. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.
And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing options are.