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 getting ready with your family? Will you catch up 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. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or listens to the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be laughing with them? Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

Loss of hearing 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 talking over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Think about some tips that will allow you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Parties

For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers might be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tricks that will make the experience less stressful:

  • Perhaps you could have a friend pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help block some of the background noise.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet area in the room that has better acoustics where you can go.
  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. Don’t be shy about asking the host to turn down the music so you can hear better.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be very helpful.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is happening. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s an impractical expectation to imagine that you will go into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Just tackle it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the challenges to cause you stress.
  • So you can feel less alone, ask for a seat near the center of the table.

Travel Tips

Don’t allow the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are some tips to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip better there are a few things that can be done. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They could 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. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. They might also offer to take you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

Make sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you fail to answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are available for those who have hearing loss at lots of resorts. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

You may not be certain what to bring with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you go through security wear your hearing aids. Taking them out is not required. You can keep them on while flying, as well.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are features that will eliminate background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. 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 specialist to learn what your hearing options are.