Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.

During the holidays, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. The holiday season can be fun (and also challenging) because of this. Normally, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to find out what everyone’s been doing all year.

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers might feel a little less inviting. Why is that? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly discouraging and stressful 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

Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got a promotion, it keeps going.

These tips are developed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.

Use video chat instead of phone 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 connect with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

Phones present an interesting dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and hard to understand, and that can definitely be frustrating. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Be honest with people

Hearing loss is incredibly common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • Your family and friends to talk a little slower.

People will be less likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a little bit easier.

Find some quiet spaces for conversing

Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any delicate subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously choose areas that are quieter for conversations.

deal with it like this:

  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.
  • Attempt to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be capable of picking up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Attempt to find places that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people talking to you (and help you lip read as a result).

Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a bit quieter.
  • Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less going on. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Many people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s important to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual instructions. It’s crucial that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you have hearing loss, communicating can be a lot of effort. You will often find yourself fatigued more often than before. As a result, it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a break.

Invest in some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.

Every conversation with your family through the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat what they said.

Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

Keep in mind that it might take you some time to get used to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t need to get through the holidays alone

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. It’s as if hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the right approach.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.