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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when someone talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with your family start days before? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? As the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From talking over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you enjoy the holidays this year. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays despite your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Parties

Parties might be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. If someone is looking right at you, they are probably talking to you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Go out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more challenging because of your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to stress you out.
  • Give some visual signs of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Maybe you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more difficult but don’t let that stop you. Here are some suggestions to make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip better there are a few things you can do. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also provide priority boarding, for example, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. Security might have a special line that you can get in, also. Be sure to ask a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is offered.

When you board, be certain the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

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 offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you go through security. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

And if you don’t already 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 can’t be all that you remember. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing solutions are.