Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s famous pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company get together. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Gatherings

For anyone who has loss of hearing, get-togethers may be the most difficult challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some suggestions:

  • Provide some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you having to point it out.
  • Maybe try going out of the room, even if just for a little while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • If there are any speakers which might interfere with your hearing aids, stand away from them. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a little bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Request a seat at the center of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s an impractical expectation to think that you will stroll into a party and find everything to be ideal. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more difficult. Don’t allow the challenges to get you stressed out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Find places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.
  • To get things you might have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Tell them that you didn’t hear what they said.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. Here are a few recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are some things you can do. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. There might be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you require one. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is important, you can request priority seating. They might also offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. You won’t know what is possible unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

Make sure the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you get on 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. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones that 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 might not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Some essentials to pack include:

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

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You are not expected to remove them. You can leave them in while flying, also.

Lastly, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in modern hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays come but once a year. There isn’t any 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. Schedule an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.