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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure 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 have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider some tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Gatherings

For people with hearing loss, get-togethers may be the biggest challenge. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Go out of the room every once in a while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • Request a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Maybe you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing is going to make things more difficult. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Give some visual signs of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

If you prefer to fly or take a train, it can be difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. If you would like to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other vital information. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can ask for priority seating. They might offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks early if you want to find out what is offered.

Be certain the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask about a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some places are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

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

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to take them out. You can leave them in while flying, as well.

Lastly, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps 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 come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. To help you know what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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