The holidays are a busy time of year. Many of us engage in extra shopping trips, invites to social gatherings, preparations and possibly even travel. It can be a fantastic and enjoyable time.
If you’re one of the estimated 30 million Americans with hearing loss, you may find the festive season more of a challenge. While the extra excursions and social gatherings are great fun, they can be taxing on your hearing.
We’ve put together these hearing loss communication tips for the holidays to keep you jolly and bright!
Tips for Hearing this Holiday Season
Don’t let your hearing loss get in the way of a great holiday season. A few simple adjustments, some forward planning, and open communication can all make a massive difference.
A bit of preparation goes a long way. Plan to use your hearing aids. Prepare them in advance for the environment you’re going to be in. For example, if you’re going to be in an environment with a lot of background noise, adjust your settings accordingly. You may also want to consider assistive devices or Bluetooth technology.
Boost your confidence by buddying up with someone who understands your hearing loss. You can also give yourself the best chance to see and hear everyone by aiming to sit in the center of the group.
Hearing Loss Communication Tips
These hearing loss communication skills can help you in any situation, not just during the holidays.
- Before you speak to someone, get their attention either by saying their name or briefly touching their hand or arm.
- Always face the person you are speaking with.
- Speak slowly and clearly, don’t shout.
- Actively listen, and never interrupt.
- If you suffer from asymmetric hearing loss (hearing loss is more pronounced on one side), try orienting yourself so that your best ear is closest to the sound.
- Avoid guessing or pretending – simply cup your hand behind your ear if you are struggling to hear. It’s a simple, but effective, tip.
Social Events Out
If you’re planning on getting social this festive period, these tips will help!
- Speak to the host of the event and ask if the background music could be turned down.
- Ask friends to go out at less popular times. Also ask to sit in well lit areas and at quiet tables, i.e. far away from the kitchen or any speakers.
- If attending a performance, be sure to book seats with a good view or arrive early enough to be able to see well. Look for ‘Telecoil’ technology at public venues.
- If going to watch a movie, look for the closed caption version.
Gatherings at Home
If a social gathering is taking place in your home, you can easily plan ahead. Set background music or television to a low volume and keep the lighting adequate, as this makes it easier to lip-read or use other visual cues. If possible, also set aside a quiet area for some calm or 1-on-1 conversations.
It is important to be open about your hearing needs. You should not have to miss out this holiday season because of your hearing loss. If you wish to discuss any concerns you may have, you would like a check-up or even help to adjust the settings on your device, get in touch. Call the team at Hearing, Balance & Speech Center on (203) 208-3678 or request an appointment online.