When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family begin days before? While you are following grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From talking over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the loud holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this season. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about some tricks that will help you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.
Those Holiday Gatherings
For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers could be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:
- Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
- In order to get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
- Provide some visual hints 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.
- Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
- Stand away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
- Manage Your Expectations. It’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine that you will walk into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
- Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech rather than whispering in your ears.
- Be aware of the visual clues. If someone is looking at you, they are probably talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
Don’t permit the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few tips to make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the speaker. There are a few things you can do to make the trip easier. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could also offer priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
When you get on board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are offered for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
You might not be certain what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
- A cleaning kit
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps 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 only come once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if it’s more recent. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing solutions are.