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

So, so many family get-togethers.

It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holiday season. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, this sort of annual catching up is something that’s easy to anticipate. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’re up to!

But those family get-togethers might feel less inviting when you’re dealing with hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? What are the effects of hearing loss at family gatherings?

Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be especially discouraging and distressing around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and pleasant by using a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s lots to see during the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there’s also so much to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be a great 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 over the holidays, try using video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

Phones represent a difficult conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. It can be very hard to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that makes what should be an enjoyable phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls supply additional context, and that will help the conversation flow better.

Tell people the truth

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s important to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Your family and friends to talk a bit slower.
  • People to repeat what they said, but requesting that they rephrase too.
  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).

People won’t be as likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a bit smoother.

Find some quiet areas for talking

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation throughout the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to talk about any sensitive subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to cautiously choose spaces that are quieter for conversations.

Handle it like this:

  • Attempt to find well lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t enough light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • There will be quieter spots in the home where you have conversations. That could mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a little further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Try to sit with your back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.
  • You’re looking for spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.

Alright, alright, but what if your niece starts talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with holiday cocoa? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:

  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
  • Ask your niece to carry on the conversation somewhere where it’s a bit quieter.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less going on. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?

Lots of people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly significant for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s important to comprehend all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to let them know about your hearing loss. That 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 with hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more frequently than you used to. This means that it’s important to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a break.

Invest in some hearing aids

How does hearing loss affect relationships? Well, as should be clear at this point, in many ways!

Every conversation with your family through the holidays will be benefited by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

In other words, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Everyone will have a different experience. So talk to us about the timing.

You don’t need to navigate the holidays by yourself

It can seem like you’re alone sometimes, and that nobody understands what you’re going through when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss impacts your personality. But you’re not alone. You can get through many of the difficulties with our help.

The holidays don’t need to be a time of worry or nervousness (that is, any more than they normally are). With the correct strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family around this time of year.

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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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