You Can Still Have a Wonderful Holiday Season Despite Hearing Loss

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

So, so many family celebrations.

During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost relative every other weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Normally, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to learn what everybody’s been doing all year.

But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings might feel a little less inviting. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family gatherings?

Your ability to communicate with others can be significantly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing sensation when it occurs during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more pleasant, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much 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.

These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.

Steer clear of phone calls – instead, use video calls.

Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try using video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones present a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can sound garbled and hard to understand, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have much 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 incredibly common. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • People to slow down a little when speaking with you.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
  • People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase also.

When people know that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a bit easier.

Find some quiet areas for conversing

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously choose spaces that are quieter for talking.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Attempt to find brightly lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
  • Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That could mean removing yourself from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
  • Attempt to find spots that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.

Okay, okay, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with hot chocolate? There are a couple of things you can do in situations like these:

  • You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
  • Politely begin walking towards a spot where you can hear and focus better. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Lots of people go on planes during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are pretty spread out. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the guidelines coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with additional visual instructions. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communicating can become a lot of effort. You might find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. As a result, it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.

Invest in some hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable affect on relationships.

Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more 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 right before the holidays to pick them up. Everyone will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s almost like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these dilemmas.

Holidays can be tough enough even under typical 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 right 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.