When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you catch up with each other? It’s warm and comfortable because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. As the family laughs about your son’s latest dating adventure or watch the grandkids laugh and put on a holiday play, will you be enjoying with them? Or are you struggling to hear what everyone is talking about?
The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you hostage. Think about how to get the most out of your holiday despite your hearing loss. Here are some recommendations.
At Holiday Parties
Parties might be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. Here are some suggestions that could make the experience less stressful:
- Give some visual signs of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
- Some of the background noise can be prevented if you stand with your back to a wall.
- Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is most likely talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said let them know.
- Look for areas in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
- In order to feel less alone, ask for a seat near the center of the table.
- If sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes instead of attempting to whisper in your ear.
- Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
- Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
- Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. Some time for the brain to rest and recover can be extremely helpful.
- If there are any speakers which could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. Don’t be afraid to ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear better.
Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.
Taking The Train or Flying
If you prefer to fly or ride the rails, it can be hard to hear announcements over the intercom. 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 offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. 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. You won’t know what is offered until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.
Be sure the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you 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 make sure.
When you reserve your hotel room, let them know you are hearing impaired. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. So they can improve your safety, some spots also have alarms that flash lights.
What Hearing Aid Essentials to Bring
You might not be certain what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:
- A cleaning kit
- Additional accessories
- Extra batteries or a second charger
As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.
Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays only come once a year. 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. To help you understand what your hearing options are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.