Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you begin days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? While you follow grandma’s classic pecan pie recipe, will you reminisce with each other? It’s warm and cozy because you are together, and a yummy aroma is wafting from the oven. Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. 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 talking over drinks at the company party. You don’t have to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday despite your loss of hearing. Here are some tips.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

For anyone who has hearing loss, get-togethers might be the biggest challenge. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel as isolated.
  • Perhaps try going out of the room, even if just for a while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss will definitely make things more challenging. Don’t allow the challenges to stress you out, just use a sense of humor about it.
  • Stand with your back to the wall. It could help stop some of the background noise.
  • Use visual hints to let others know what is going on. You don’t have to point it out. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Move away from any speakers that may interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Visual clues should be carefully observed. Someone is probably speaking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said inform them.
  • Maybe there is a quiet area in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • If listening to a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than trying to whisper in your ear.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to get in your way. Here are a few suggestions to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are going on a plane or taking a train. If you want to make the trip better there are some things that can be done. To begin with, call the airport to see if they provide 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 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. Be certain to inquire a few weeks early if you want to know what is offered.

Make certain the attendants are aware that you have hearing loss when you board. That way if you don’t reply when they ask if you want a drink, they will know to tap you on the shoulder to make sure.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you make your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices which are offered for those who have hearing loss at many resorts. Some spots are set up with fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you may not be certain what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:

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

As you pass security wear your hearing aids. You do not need to remove them. You can keep them on while flying, as well.

And if you don’t already own hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and getting rid of background noise. The holidays come but once a year. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or are new to it, there is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care specialist to find out what your hearing options are.

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