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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with your family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

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 chatting over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with loss of hearing, parties may be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat close to the center of the table.
  • Provide some visual hints of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip better there are some things you can do. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They could have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They could also offer priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

When you board, make certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Lots of resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Taking them out is not required. You can leave them in while flying, also.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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