Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

Other than turkey, what do you think about when a person talks about Thanksgiving? Does the cooking and preparing with the family start days before? Will you reminisce with each other while following grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? It’s warm and comfy because you are together, and a delicious aroma is wafting from the oven. While the family laughs about your son’s latest girlfriend or watch the grandkids laugh and sing holiday songs will you be laughing with them? Or are you having a difficult time catching the punchline of every joke?

The holiday doesn’t need to be defined for you by hearing loss. You can take charge of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to talking over drinks at the company party. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about some tips that will help you to enjoy the holidays despite your hearing loss.

At Holiday Get-Togethers

Parties might be the most difficult for those with loss of hearing. To make the experience less stressful, here are some tricks:

  • Provide some visual cues of your own. You don’t have to point it out. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re struggling.
  • Your expectations have to be managed. It’s pointless walking into a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your loss of hearing will definitely make things more difficult. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to cause you stress.
  • Be aware of the visual clues. When someone is looking right at you, they are probably speaking to you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • To get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • In order to feel less alone, request a seat close to the middle of the table.
  • If you are sitting through a speech, encourage friends to pass you notes rather than attempting to whisper in your ear.
  • Perhaps there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Step out of the room every now and then. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • If there are any speakers that could interfere with your hearing aids, move away from them. If the music is loud, ask someone to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.

Travel Tips

Hearing loss can make traveling more challenging but don’t allow that to stop you. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be hard to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you would like to make the trip smoother there are a few things that can be done. Checking if the airport or train station offers any special services for the hearing impaired is step one. There may be an app you can get on your phone that shows vital information or visual signs that show oral announcements. They could even provide a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. If being close enough to lip read or ask questions is essential, you can request priority seating. They might offer to bring you through a select line in security, too. Be certain to inquire a few weeks before you go if you want to find out what is offered.

Make certain the attendants know you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss such as vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some places 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 vacation with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Some essentials to pack include:

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

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Removing them is not necessary. Also, during a flight, you can leave them in.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, maybe it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that can amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays only come once a year. 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. To help you understand what your hearing solutions are, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.