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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Besides turkey, what do you think about when a person mentions Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you reminisce with each other as you follow grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and relaxing because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips.

Those Holiday Parties

Parties may be the most difficult for those with hearing loss. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you might have missed.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • If you are listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Stay away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Things will be more challenging because of your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. You don’t need to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. Inform them that you didn’t hear what they said.
  • So you can feel less isolated, request a seat near the middle of the table.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are some tips 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 difficult to hear announcements over the speaker. There are a few things you can do to make the trip better. To begin with, call 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 could even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to know what is provided.

When you get on 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 if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, make them aware you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots 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

You might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some fundamentals to pack include:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Removing them is not necessary. You can leave them in during an air flight, also.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the newer hearing aids, there are features that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year celebration. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. Make an appointment with your hearing care professional to learn what your hearing solutions are.

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