The holiday season is an excellent time to reconnect with both friends and family. However, for those with impaired hearing or hearing loss, the holidays can bring about a sense of fear and anxiety. A person with impaired hearing, no matter how severe, can often feel alienated and disconnected during these times of togetherness. The feelings often stem from a lack of connection. It can be challenging to connect with others when you cannot hear the world around you. However, with a bit of planning and thoughtfulness, everyone can survive the holidays with hearing loss, especially when you follow our holiday hearing tips.
If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss, check out these helpful holiday hearing tips!
For the Host:
• If there are attendees that are not aware of a guest(s) hard of hearing, let it be known in private, preferably beforehand. Learning about a person’s degree of hearing loss can help them remain mindful of how they speak and act towards this person without being surprised or finding out the “hard way.”
• Be attentive to a friend or family member who has hearing loss. If you see that person not speaking or conversing with anyone, be vigilant, and make sure everything is OK. They may be having problems hearing and may feel too embarrassed to say anything. Be sure to remain attentive to their needs just in case they need any assistance.
• If anyone on your guest list has impaired hearing, be mindful of their placement at the table. For most people with hearing loss, being positioned in the middle of the table, with their back against the wall, is most helpful. This allows them to be in the best position for hearing and participating in a conversation and can help filter out distracting background noises.
• High volume levels from a music player, radio, or television can make it hard to hear for everyone, especially for someone who has some degree of hearing loss. Make sure you keep the volume level turned down to a reasonable level on these devices. Background music or noise is fine, but you don’t want it to dominate the area. Maintaining the volume at an appropriate level can help a person with hearing loss stay in a conversation.
For the Hearing Impaired:
• If you have hearing aids, wear them! Unfortunately, many individuals often can feel embarrassed or ashamed of needing assistance and will avoid wearing one. Wearing your hearing aid can only help, so if there is one available, wear it! To help make you comfortable with your device, experiment, and get used to your hearing aid(s) before the holiday get-together.
• When you are conversing with a person or a group of individuals, keep your quarters close. Do not try to have conversations across the room because they can be hard to distinguish and follow. Instead, keep all of your conversations with others intimate by only conversing with those in your immediate surroundings.
• It is imperative for a person with any degree of hearing loss not to overdo it. If you are giving your ears a lot of game time, give them a break every once in a while. Your ears and brain are working hard to distinguish the sounds going on around you, so make sure you take some quiet time away. Stepping away and getting some quiet time, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can help give your ears and brain a much-needed rest.