So, so many family get-togethers.
During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also challenging) for this reason. Normally, this type of yearly catching up is something that’s pleasing to anticipate. You get to check in on everyone and find out what they’re up to!
But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers might feel a little less inviting. Why is that? What are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers?
Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it occurs around the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
Around the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things 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 developed to help make sure you keep experiencing all of those moments of reconnection over the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try using video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to touch base with loved ones throughout the holidays.
Phones represent an interesting dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. It can be really difficult to hear the muffled sounding voice on the other end, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily get better, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer additional context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.
Be honest with people
Hearing loss is extremely common. It’s crucial to let people know if you need help. There’s no harm in asking for:
- People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
- People to slow down a little when talking with you.
- Conversations to take place in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
When people know that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will have a better flow as a result.
Find some quiet areas for conversing
Throughout the holidays, there are always topics of conversation you want to avoid. So you’re cautious not to say anything that might offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any delicate subject matter. Similarly, you should try to cautiously pick areas that are quieter for conversations.
deal with it like this:
- By the same token, keep your discussions in settings that are well-lit. Contextual clues, including body language and facial expressions, can get lost in darker spaces.
- Try to choose an area of the gathering that’s a little quieter. That may mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that loud football game on the TV.
- You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a stronger position to read lips more effectively.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a wall against your back. That way, there’ll be less background noise for you to have to filter through.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the noisy kitchen, where you’re topping off your mug with holiday cocoa? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And remember to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
- You can politely ask the host, if there’s music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.
- Ask your niece to carry on the conversation someplace where it’s a bit quieter.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that aren’t as obvious? You know, the ones you may not see coming?
When families are spread out, many people have to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be certain to tell them about your hearing loss. This way, if necessary, the flight crew can take extra care to give you extra visual guidelines. When you’re flying, it’s essential not to miss anything!
When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can become a lot of effort. You may find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking regular breaks is important. By doing this, your ears and your brain can get a rest.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.
One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family over the holidays smoother and more rewarding. And, the best part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.
Hearing aids will allow you to reconnect with your family, in other words.
It may take some time to get used to your new hearing aids. So you shouldn’t wait until just before the holidays to pick them up. Of course, everyone’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.
You don’t need to navigate 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. It’s like hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.
The holidays don’t need to be a time of trepidation or anxiety (that is, any more than they usually are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.