Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

Hearing loss doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company get together. You don’t need to be held hostage by hearing loss. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Parties

Get-togethers may be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Maybe try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more difficult. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to point it out.
  • In order to feel less alone, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • If sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to get in your way. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Taking The Train or Flying

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. There are a few things you can do to make the trip smoother. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can download on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered unless 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 about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

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 available for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Replacement batteries or a second charger

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to find out what your hearing options are.

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