You Can Still Have a Wonderful Holiday Season in Spite of Hearing Loss

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

So, so many family get-togethers.

It likely feels like you’re meeting or reuniting with every relative you have, every weekend, during the holidays. The holiday season can be enjoyable (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to learn what everybody’s been doing all year.

But when you’re dealing with hearing loss, those family get-togethers might seem a little less inviting. Why is that? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Your ability to communicate with others can be greatly effected by hearing loss, and also the ability of other people to communicate with you. The result can be a discouraging feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing sensation when it happens during the holidays. Hearing specialists and professionals have developed some go-to tips that can help make your holidays more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, when you have hearing loss.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

During holiday get-togethers, use these tips to get through and make more unforgettable moments.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family. If you have hearing loss, this is especially true. If you have hearing loss and you want to connect with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of standard phone calls.

Phones present an interesting conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication challenges. The voice that comes through the phone speaker can sound muffled and difficult to understand, and that makes what should be a pleasant phone call vexing indeed. You won’t have clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help figure out what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide additional context, and that will help the conversation have a better flow.

Tell people the truth

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:

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

People will be less likely to become aggravated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little smoother.

Find some quiet spaces for conversing

You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So you’re cautious not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to mention any delicate subject matter. When you have hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of avoiding certain topics of conversation, you should cautiously steer clear of specific places in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

Here’s how to handle it:

  • You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. This’ll make it easier to focus on the lips of the people talking to you (and help you lip read as a result).
  • Attempt to find well lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • There will be quieter areas in the home where you have conversations. That may mean moving away from overlapping conversations or getting a bit further away from that raucous sporting event on the TV.
  • Try to sit with your 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 cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? In cases like this, there are a couple of things you can do:

  • Quietly lead your niece to a spot that has less going on. 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.
  • Ask your niece to carry on the conversation somewhere where it’s a little quieter.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less obvious effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? Like the ones that sneak up on you.

When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. It’s essential that you can comprehend all of the directions coming from the flight crew when you fly. So you need to be sure to let them know about your hearing loss. This way, if needed, the flight crew can take extra care to provide you with extra visual instructions. When you’re flying, it’s important that you don’t miss anything!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more often than you used to. As a result, it’s important to take regular breaks. This will give your ears, and, maybe more significantly, your brain, a little bit of time to catch a breath.

Consider getting hearing aids

How does hearing loss impact relationships? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!

One of the major benefits of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family through the holidays easier and more rewarding. And, the best part, you won’t have to continue to ask people to repeat themselves.

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

It may take some time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you get them well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. But we can help you with the timing.

You can get help getting through the holidays

It can seem as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. It’s like hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these challenges.

Holidays can be hard enough even under normal circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even more difficult. At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.

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.