There’s no place like ho-ho-home for the holidays, but when you have hearing loss, the season may be a little less joyful. Good news: hearing aids can help you focus on tinsel rather than tinnitus and ensure you don’t miss a note of those beloved classics like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
The Holiday Struggle is Real
The holidays are synonymous with family gatherings, delicious meals, and at least one relative indulging in way too much eggnog. For those with hearing loss, the hustle and bustle of the season can be overwhelming. Rather than yearning for the calm and quiet of January 2, there are ways that these individuals can fully embrace the holidays.
First and most importantly: if you have hearing aids, wear them! Now is no time for modesty. Hearing aids will enhance speech and reduce background noise, aiding in your enjoyment of holiday events. Bonus: if you’re seated next to a real boor, you can always turn them off!
- Find a quiet area. Whether you’re visiting family members at home or celebrating out on the town, finding a spot with less noise and distraction will help you enjoy your evening. Let your host know about your hearing impairment, whether it’s your cousin Eddie at home or the maître d′ at the fancy restaurant where you are dining. They may be able to accommodate you by turning down the music or seating you in a quiet corner away from a busy kitchen or noisy bar area.
- Position yourself strategically. When finding a spot to sit at the dinner table, position yourself in a manner that will enable you to more easily take part in the conversation. If hearing loss is more pronounced in one ear, find a seat where your better ear faces the action. The center of the table is a great spot that will enable you to maintain eye contact and rely on visual cues such as lipreading to help your comprehension. Good lighting is key, so if your host busts out candles, ask if they would be willing to turn on the lights as well.
- Practice the buddy system. Mingling in mixed company is great but can be problematic for those with hearing loss. Find a friend or relative and stick by that person throughout the evening; this ensures you’ll feel more included and will have somebody who can repeat things back to you that you might have missed.
- Go easy on the alcohol. A cocktail or glass of wine can help you relax in social situations, but too much may affect your comprehension. Alternate alcoholic beverages with water and don’t drink on an empty stomach.