When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and relaxing 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?
Hearing loss doesn’t have to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Gatherings
Parties could be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:
- Move away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
- Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
- Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
- Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t allow that to get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things that can be done. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
Make certain 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 be sure.
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 including vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some places have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
You may not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
- A cleaning kit
Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. You are not expected to remove them. You can leave them on during an air flight, also.
And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. There isn’t any reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if you are new to it. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing solutions are.