Festive family traditions, visits with relatives, and of course delicious seasonal treats – for many people, the holidays are the best time of the year!
However, for those living with hearing loss, the holiday season can be a time of frustration, anxiety, and social isolation. After all, it is hard to feel included in a conversation if you can’t hear what is being said.
A hearing loss can impact an individual’s emotional well-being during any time of year, but it seems the holidays can only make these feelings worse.
- Gatherings with many people in one room can make it hard to carry on a conversation.
- Constant holiday music playing in the background can make it difficult to hear.
- Fewer daylight hours and dim holiday lighting can make it harder to read lips and see facial expressions.
- Frequent phone calls with relatives can be problematic.
- Cold weather can impact hearing aid battery life and ear health.
Tips to Manage Hearing Loss Through the Holidays
So, how can you regain the magic of the holidays despite a hearing loss? Here are a few tips from Whisper Hearing Centers.
Use video chat instead of traditional phone calls.
Today, there are many cell phone and computer apps to make video chatting possible. Live video chatting is free over Wi-Fi with apps such as Skype, Facetime, Hangouts, and Google+. Many people with hearing loss find phone calls difficult, but video chatting makes it possible to amplify volume on the computer speakers, as well as read lip movements and facial expressions. Video chatting makes connecting with far-away friends and relatives possible without the stress of a traditional phone call.
Protect your hearing aid from cold weather.
Cold weather can drain hearing aid batteries and allow condensation to form on the components. This can cause the hearing aid to perform erratically or stop functioning altogether. That’s the last thing you want! You can combat this by wearing a hat or ear warmer outside, and drying your hearing aid with a soft, dry cloth regularly.
Routinely check hearing aids.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can make it easy to forget things, but don’t let your hearing aids be forgotten! Check your battery before going out, take extra batteries with you when you travel, and clean and dry your hearing aid components regularly.
Plan where you want to sit at a gathering.
Of course, the soft glow of the Christmas tree or a candlelit dinner is beautiful and festive, but it makes lip reading difficult. If possible, choose to sit or stand in areas or rooms with the most light. You can also try sitting or standing in an area with a wall behind you. This may help reduce background noise or music.
Ask a friend for help.
Noisy holiday gatherings can make it hard to focus on a single conversation even for those who don’t have a hearing loss. If you are going to be attending a large dinner or get-together, try the buddy system. Ask a close friend or relative who understands your hearing loss to sit next to you and help fill you in on the conversation if needed.
Speak up about speaking up.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your conversation partner to speak up or face you so you can hear them and read their lips. Reminding them encourages them to not only increase their volume, but to focus their words and inflections to help you more easily understand. You can also use visual clues like cupping your ear if you need someone to speak up or repeat themselves.
Don’t let your hearing loss prevent you from enjoying the holidays.
Living with hearing loss is not always easy, but there is something you can do about it. For many people, hearing aids are life-changing! Don’t let your hearing loss prevent you from enjoying the holidays this year. Contact the audiologists at Whisper Hearing Centers today.