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

Gatherings. So many family gatherings.

It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been up to all year.

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

Hearing loss can interfere with your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The resulting experience of alienation can be especially discouraging and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s so much to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and 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.

These tips are meant to help be certain that you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday get-togethers.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a good way to stay in touch. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones during the holidays.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can feel garbled and difficult to understand, and that can definitely be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually improve, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. Conversations will flow better on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Tell people the truth

Hearing loss is incredibly common. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
  • People to slow down a little when talking with you.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.

When people are aware that you have hearing loss, they’re less likely to get annoyed if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.

Choose your areas of conversation carefully

You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any delicate subject matter. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

deal with it like this:

  • When you find 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 brightly lit places for this same reason. Contextual clues, like body language and facial expressions, can get lost in dimly lit spaces.
  • You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece starts talking to you? There are a few things you can do in situations 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.
  • Politely start walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. And don’t forget to let her know this is what you’re doing.
  • Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.

Speak to the flight crew

So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings that are less obvious? You know, the ones you may not see coming?

Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially significant for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. In this 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 when you have hearing loss. You may find yourself growing more fatigued or exhausted than you used to. So taking regular breaks is important. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Get some hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear at this point, in many ways!

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 allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.

Remember that it could take you a bit of time to get used to your hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.

You don’t need to get through the holidays alone

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

Holidays can be difficult enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even more difficult. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.

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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.

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