Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

So, so many family get-togethers.

It probably feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Normally, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been doing all year.

But when you have hearing loss, those family gatherings might seem a little less welcoming. Why is that? How will your hearing loss impact you when you’re at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can impede your ability to communicate, and with others’ ability to communicate with you. The result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing feeling when it happens during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have formulated some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more rewarding, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like decorations, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how your nephew is doing in school, how your cousin’s pick-up basketball team is doing, and on, and on.

During holiday gatherings, make use of these tips to get through and make more unforgettable memories.

Steer clear of phone calls – use video instead

Zoom calls can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends and family. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones during the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.

Phones represent a difficult dilemma when it comes to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice on the other end can feel garbled and hard to understand, and that can definitely be frustrating. With a video call, the audio quality won’t necessarily improve, but you’ll have much more information to help you communicate. Conversations will have a better flow on video calls because you can read lips and use facial expressions.

Be honest with people

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from hearing loss. If you need help, it’s essential to communicate that! It doesn’t hurt to ask for:

  • Your family and friends to talk a little slower.
  • People to paraphrase and repeat what they said.
  • Conversations to happen in quieter areas of the gathering (more on this in a bit).

When people recognize that you’re dealing with hearing loss, they’re not as likely to become aggravated if you need something repeated more than once. Communication will flow better as a result.

Find some quiet areas for talking

Throughout the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to steer clear of. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just mention sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to mention it. In a similar way, you should try to carefully select areas that are quieter for talking.

Handle it like this:

  • Try to find areas that have less activity and fewer people walking by and distracting you. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. Possibly that means sneaking away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
  • Try to find brightly lit places for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • When you choose a spot to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your mug of hot chocolate, and your niece starts talking to you? In situations like this, there are a few things you can do:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to chat.
  • Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less happening. Be sure to explain that’s what you’re doing.
  • If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.

Communicate with the flight crew

So how about less obvious impacts of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that catch you by surprise.

Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s particularly essential for families that are fairly spread out. When you fly, it’s essential to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. That way, the flight crew can provide you with visual instructions if needed. It’s essential that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can be a lot of effort. You may find yourself getting more tired or exhausted than you once did. So taking frequent breaks is essential. This will give your ears, and, perhaps more significantly, your brain, some time to catch a breath.

Invest in some hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Hearing loss has a significant affect on relationships.

Every conversation with your family through the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.

Hearing aids will let you reconnect with your family, in other words.

Keep in mind that it could take you a bit of time to become accustomed to your hearing aids. So it’s recommended that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.

You don’t need to get through the holidays by yourself

It can feel as if you’re by yourself sometimes, and that no one understands what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. In this way, it’s kind of like hearing loss affects your personality. But you’re not alone. We can help you get through many of these dilemmas.

Holidays can be tough enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t need hearing loss to make it even harder. With the proper strategy, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing, your family during this time of year.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.