Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is saying?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. 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 enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.
Those Holiday Get-Togethers
For people with loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tips that will make the experience less stressful:
- Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a little while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking at you, they are probably talking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
- Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
- Give some visual signs of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
- Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
- So you can feel less isolated, ask for a seat close to the center of the table.
Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip better there are a few things that can be done. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They may have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They may also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
Be sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots 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
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- A cleaning kit
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
Wear your hearing aids as you pass security. Taking them out is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. To help you understand what your hearing options are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.