Enjoying the Holidays with Hearing Loss 

In Hearing Loss by Gold Canyon Hearing

Many of us look forward to the holidays. Spending time with loved ones, attending dinner parties, and reconnecting with family and friends is an exciting time. But the holiday season can present unique challenges for people with hearing loss. The holidays can be overwhelming and contribute to anxiety for people with impaired hearing because navigating conversations and social spaces as well as activities can be tough, even with hearing aids. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can practice to effectively support your hearing needs. The following strategies can help you navigate the holidays with greater ease:

  • Get hearing tested before the holidays. Your hearing needs and prescription can change over time so it is important to have your hearing assessed regularly. Scheduling an appointment with your hearing healthcare provider before the holiday season is a great way to ensure that your hearing needs are being met optimally. This includes checking your hearing aids and their settings to evaluate if sound is being processed in ways best for your hearing. You can also have your hearing aids professionally serviced which helps keep them in the best shape, supporting their performance and longevity. Getting your hearing tested also allows your hearing healthcare provider to make any changes or adjustments so that hearing continues to be a seamless experience for you.
  • Maximize use of hearing aids. It is important to get the most out of your hearing aids. These devices provide ample hearing support and are a game changer for people with hearing loss. Be sure to wear your hearing aids throughout the day. You can also talk to your hearing healthcare provider about any accessories or technologies that you can use with your hearing aids to make hearing as easy and comfortable as possible. This includes a microphone that helps in 1 on 1 conversations, tinnitus management features which alleviate tinnitus, and digital noise reduction technology. Hearing aids are an important investment in your hearing health so knowing how to maximize their use is beneficial and can provide significant support as you navigate the holidays.
  • Reduce background noise. Being able to hear in environments with background noise can be challenging for anyone. Background noise provides additional sounds that the brain has to process and filter through. This takes more effort and energy, especially for people with hearing loss. Background noise can be really distracting and unpleasant. Reducing background noise as much as possible is an effective way to prevent this. You can do this by lowering any music or TV playing in the background, powering off any appliances that are not being used, and avoiding multitasking during conversations which also contributes to greater noise levels.
  • Be intentional with seating. Another useful tip is to be strategic about where you sit during holiday festivities. You want to make sure that you are sitting in a position that allows you to see everyone. For example, if you are sitting at a dinner table, it is useful to sit centrally and to not have obstructions blocking you from seeing others. This allows you to have access to nonverbal cues like facial expressions, hand gestures, and other body language that helps provide context. It also allows you to lip read which is a common strategy people with hearing loss use to follow conversations. Other tips about seating are to avoid sitting next to loud sources of noise (speaker, fans, windows etc.), and to have an area you can retreat to that is quieter if noise gets too loud.
  • Identify a buddy. Identifying a loved one who can be your buddy is another helpful tip. This can be the person you go to if you need something to be clarified or repeated. They can also share anything you may have missed and check in on you throughout the holidays.
  • Share communication strategies. You likely know different communication strategies that work well for you and your hearing. Sharing these tips with others is a great way to help make conversations more accessible. This can include:
  • Saying your name and grabbing your attention before speaking.
  • Rephrasing rather than repeating.
  • Speaking in a natural voice, taking natural pauses.
  • Avoiding multitasking during a conversation.

Be sure to share different ways others can support you and your hearing needs.

Contact us to learn more about the technologies and resources available to support your hearing needs during the holidays!