You Can Still Enjoy the Holiday Season in Spite of Hearing Loss

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

So, so many family celebrations.

During the holidays, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’ve been doing!

But those family get-togethers may feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be particularly discouraging and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable by using a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

During 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 your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more memorable memories.

Avoid phone calls – use video instead

For friends and family, Zoom video calls can be a good way to keep in touch. If you have hearing loss, this is particularly true. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular challenge. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and hard to understand, and that can certainly be aggravating. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual clues 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

It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

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

People won’t be as likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they know that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication tends to flow a bit easier.

Choose your locations of conversation wisely

During the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. Similarly, you should try to carefully choose spaces that are quieter for conversations.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
  • When you find a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least you won’t have people talking behind you.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Maybe that means moving away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
  • You’re looking for areas with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.

Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:

  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
  • Politely begin walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers that are less apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if needed. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

It can be lots of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will frequently find yourself exhausted more often than before. This means that it’s important to take regular breaks. 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 considerable affect on relationships.

Every conversation with your family during the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.

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

It might take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So don’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. But we can help you with the timing.

You don’t need to navigate the holidays alone

When you have hearing loss, often, it can feel as if nobody can relate to what you’re dealing with, and that you have to get through it all by yourself. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But there’s help. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.

Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even harder. At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct approach.

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.