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Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? 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 fighting to hear what everyone is talking about?

The holiday doesn’t have to be defined for you by loss of hearing. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take charge of how you experience the holidays this year. You don’t need to be held hostage by hearing loss. Consider some tricks that will allow you to get the most out of the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

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

  • Step out of the room every once in a while. It will give your brain a chance to a rest.
  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. If someone is looking at you, they are most likely speaking to you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Look for places in the room that have better acoustics–maybe a quiet corner.
  • Stay away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone 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 as isolated.
  • If sitting through a speech, ask friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your loss of hearing. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Get a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat key things you missed.
  • Use visual clues to let others know what is going on. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re having a hard time.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the obstacles of hearing loss to stop you from traveling. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Taking The Train or Flying

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the loudspeaker if you are flying 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 offer any special services for the hearing impaired. There may be an app you can download on your phone that shows vital info or visual signs that show oral announcements. They may also provide priority boarding, for instance, or a sign language interpreter if you need one. 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 certain the attendants are aware that 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.

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 suffer from hearing loss at lots of resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

You may not be certain what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. You do not need to remove them. You can keep them on while flying, also.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss most of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays can’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to learn what your hearing options are.

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