Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
During the holidays, it probably feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative almost every weekend. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the curse) of the holiday season. Typically, this type of annual catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to reunite with everybody and find out what they’re up to!
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem 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 result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially distressing sensation when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays.
Phones represent an interesting dilemma with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be really hard to hear the muffled sounding voice on the other end, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.
Be honest with people
Hearing loss is very common. It’s essential to let people know if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
- Your friends and family to talk a bit slower.
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
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 bit smoother.
Pick your locations of conversation carefully
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention touchy subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously pick spaces that are quieter for conversations.
Handle it like this:
- By the same token, keep your discussions in places that are well-lit. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
- Try to find places that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals speaking with you (and help you lip read as a result).
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation someplace where it’s a little quieter.
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. Be sure to mention that’s what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
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? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. It’s important that you can understand all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. Which is why it’s really crucial to tell the flight crew that you have difficulty hearing or have hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than you used to. So taking regular breaks is essential. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Get some hearing aids
How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more fulfilling. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
Remember that it may take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Naturally, everyone’s experience will differ. So speak with us about the timing.
You can get help getting through the holidays
When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel like no one can relate to what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But you aren’t alone. We can help you get through many of these challenges.
Holidays can be difficult enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. With the proper approach, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.