Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when someone mentions Thanksgiving? Do you begin days before, cooking and preparing with the family? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy 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 laugh and play. Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take charge 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. Think about some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

Parties could be the most challenging for those with hearing loss. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. Tell them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • 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 little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • So you can feel less alone, request a seat near the center of the table.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. There may be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to inquire a few weeks early if you want to know what is possible.

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

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

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

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

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. Taking them out is not required. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing options are.