Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.
It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) because of this. Usually, this sort of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.
But those family get-togethers may feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing experience when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.
Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. If you’re dealing with hearing loss, this is particularly 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 a difficult conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be very difficult to hear the garbled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, but you’ll have a lot more information to help you communicate. 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 very common. It’s crucial to let people know if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
- Your friends and family to talk a little slower.
- People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase too.
When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re less likely to get irritated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet areas for talking
During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up touchy subjects about people, you wait for those people to bring it up. Similarly, you should try to cautiously choose areas that are quieter for talking.
Handle it like this:
- There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. Perhaps that means moving away from the noisy television or removing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to concentrate on the lips of the individuals talking to you (and help you lip read as a result).
- Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece starts talking to you? In cases like this, there are a few things you can do:
- Quietly lead your niece to a place that has less happening. Be certain to explain 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.
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less apparent? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You may find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. This means that it’s important to take frequent breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a significant impact on relationships.
One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make almost every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more satisfying. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
Bear in mind that it may take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to get them. Everyone will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.
You don’t need to navigate the holidays by yourself
It can feel like you’re by yourself sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.
Holidays can be difficult enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.