When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and relaxing 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 put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?
The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.
Those Holiday Parties
Get-togethers might be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:
- Stand away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
- In order to feel less alone, request a seat close to the middle of the table.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
- Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to be perfect. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
- Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
- Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
- Give some visual cues of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
- Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
Don’t allow the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.
Flying or Taking the Train
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be challenging to hear announcements over the intercom. If you would like to make the trip easier there are a few things that can be done. Finding out if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is the first step. They may 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 may even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
When you board, make sure the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you about a drink.
When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. So they can improve your safety, some places are also set up with alarms that flash lights.
If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials
If this is your first vacation with your hearing aids, you may not be sure what you need to bring with you. Pack these essentials:
- Replacement batteries or a second charger
- Additional accessories
- A cleaning kit
Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You do not need to take them out. You can keep them on while flying, as well.
Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays only come once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing options are.