So, so many family get-togethers.
It likely seems like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the charm (and, some might say, the bane) of the holiday season. Normally, this kind of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to look forward to. You get to find out what everybody’s been up to all year.
But those family get-togethers may feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. Why is that? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s a particularly distressing feeling when it occurs during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable when you employ a few go-to tips developed by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During 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 third finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
These tips are designed to help be certain that you keep having all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
When it comes to communicating with hearing loss, phones represent a particular challenge. It can be really difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice at the other end, and that can definitely be aggravating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t actually get better, but you’ll have a lot 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
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. It’s essential to let people know if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).
- Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
When people are aware that you have hearing loss, they’re less likely to get aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a bit easier.
Select your locations of conversation carefully
You will always want to avoid certain topics of conversation during the holidays. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up touchy subjects about people, you wait for those individuals to bring it up. When you have hearing loss, this goes double, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.
Handle it like this:
- Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or excusing yourself from areas of overlapping conversations.
- Attempt to find spots that have less motion and fewer people going by and distracting you. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more successfully.
- When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to deal with.
- 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.
So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece starts talking to you? There are a few things you can do in cases like these:
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to turn it down so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Ask your niece to continue the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.
- Politely start walking to an area of the gathering place where you can hear and concentrate better. Be certain to explain that’s what you’re doing.
Communicate with the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that aren’t as obvious? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.
When families are spread out, lots of people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s essential 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. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with additional visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
When you have hearing loss, communication can be a lot of work. You will often find yourself fatigued more frequently than before. This means that it’s essential to take frequent breaks. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.
Consider getting hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a considerable impact on relationships.
Every interaction with your family during the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the biggest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.
It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until right before the holidays to pick them up. Everybody will have a different experience. So talk to us about the timing.
You don’t have to navigate the holidays by yourself
It can seem as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But there’s help. You can get through many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they usually are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your family and friends. All you need is the correct approach.