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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and preparing with your family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or listens to the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

Loss of hearing doesn’t have 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 party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about some tricks that will help you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For people with loss of hearing, parties might be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. When someone is looking right at you, they are most likely talking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
  • In order to feel less isolated, ask for a seat near the middle of the table.
  • In order to get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover will be very helpful.
  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of trying to whisper in your ear.
  • Give some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you having to tell someone.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these suggestions.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you want to make the trip easier there are a few things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer 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 could even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might offer to take 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 get on board, be sure the attendants know you have hearing loss. That way if you don’t answer when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you set 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. So they can improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring

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

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

As you go through security keep your hearing aids in. You are not expected to remove them. You can keep them on while flying, also.

Finally, if you don’t have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. 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 it’s more recent. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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