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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? 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 dating adventure or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?

Hearing loss doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider some tips that will help you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Parties

For people with hearing loss, get-togethers might be the biggest challenge. Here are some tips that will make the experience less stressful:

  • If sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult because of your hearing loss. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help stop some of the background noise.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have a problem hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is most likely speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Ask for a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. 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.

Be sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on board. That way if you don’t respond when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to be sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. In order to improve your safety, some spots are also set up with alarms that flash lights.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

You might not be sure what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

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

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. Removing them is not necessary. You can keep them on while flying, as well.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember whether you’ve had hearing loss your whole life or if you are new to it. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.

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