‘Tis the season to be jolly. But it’s also the season when hearing loss can become more obvious — and problematic.
For most, the holiday season is packed with social activities. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, the calendar fills with work socials, family gatherings, shopping excursions and parties with friends and acquaintances. While fun and fulfilling, these events are also typically crowded and noisy — which can quickly become exhausting and mentally draining for those with hearing loss, as they work doubly hard to follow conversations. If too challenging, some hearing loss sufferers may avoid gatherings altogether, and that’s not on anyone’s holiday wish list.
Keeping spirits bright
There’s no reason the holiday season should be less merry for those with hearing loss — and no reason it has to be. To help, we’ve put together some hearing tips, so everyone can get in the spirit this joyful time of year.
Holiday hearing tips for people with hearing loss
- Try to situate yourself in the quietest area of any venue: away from music sources, the kitchen, bar or TV.
- If you have to move around, find smaller groups to mingle with, as fewer voices are easier to follow.
- Pay attention to lighting, and position yourself so you can optimally read lips while in a conversation.
- Stick with a “buddy” who is happy to repeat parts of conversations you may have missed.
- Shop at times you know stores will be less crowded, like right when they open each day.
- Take breaks and plan activities so that “loud” events aren’t back to back, if possible.
- If you wear a hearing aid and it has noise cancelling technology, take advantage of it! Technological advancements have made listening in noise more comfortable than ever.
- Don’t be afraid to tell people that hearing well is not your forte. It’s common in many people, and you’d be surprised how accommodating hosts and fellow revelers will be.
Holiday hearing tips for advocates
- Volunteer to be your friend or family member’s “buddy” – the one who sticks by their side, repeats things if necessary and keeps them included in conversations.
- If hosting a party, set up an area or room that’s quieter than others – well suited for smaller, more intimate conversations.
- Arrange seating so guests with hearing loss can be closest to the action, and not straining to hear.
- Ask your friend or family member if there are any special accommodations you can make to ensure their comfort.
- Be inclusive. The hectic pace of the holidays makes it easy to forget what truly makes them special: sharing and spending time with the people you love the most.
Happy holidays from your friends at North Fulton ENT!