Family enjoying Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner together around the dining table at grandmother's home.

Gatherings. More, and more family gatherings.

During the holidays, it most likely feels like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle almost every weekend. The holiday season can be fun (and also difficult) for this reason. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this annual catching up. You get to reunite with everyone and see what they’re up to!

But when you have hearing loss, those family get-togethers might feel a little less welcoming. What’s the reason for this? What are the impacts of hearing loss at family get-togethers?

Hearing loss can hinder your ability to communicate, and with other people’s ability to communicate with you. The end result can be a disheartening feeling of alienation, and it’s an especially disturbing feeling when it happens during the holidays. Your holiday season can be more rewarding and enjoyable when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.

Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season

There’s a lot to see around the holidays, lights, food, gifts, and more. But there are not only things to see, but also things to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how Julie is doing in school, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.

During holiday get-togethers, make use of these tips to get through and make more memorable moments.

Use video chat instead of phone calls

Zoom calls can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. That’s especially true if you have hearing loss. Try utilizing video calls instead of phone calls if you have hearing loss and want to reach out to loved ones during the holidays.

While trying to communicate with hearing loss, phones represent a particular obstacle. The voice on the other end can sound garbled and difficult to understand, and that can certainly be frustrating. You won’t get clearer audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls provide added context, and that will help the conversation flow better.

Tell people the truth

It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. If you need help, it’s crucial to communicate that! There’s no harm in asking for:

  • Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
  • Conversations to occur in quieter areas of the get-together (more on this in a bit).
  • People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase also.

People won’t be as likely to become annoyed when you ask them to repeat themselves if they are aware that you have hearing loss. Communication will have a better flow as a result.

Choose your areas of conversation wisely

During the holidays, there are always subjects of conversation you want to avoid. So, you’re strategic, you don’t just bring up sensitive subjects about people, you wait for those people to bring it up. When you’re dealing with hearing loss, this even more important, only instead of scooting around certain topics of conversation, you should carefully steer clear of specific spaces in a home which make hearing conversations more difficult.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • You’re seeking spaces with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
  • Try to sit with a wall behind you. That way, there’ll be less background interference for you to have to filter through.
  • Attempt to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t adequate light, you won’t be able to pick up on contextual clues or read lips.
  • Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Perhaps that means moving away from the noisy furnace or removing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.

So what if you’re in the noisy kitchen, filling up your cocoa mug, and your niece begins talking to you? There are a few things you can do in situations like these:

  • Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
  • Quietly direct your niece to a place that has less happening. And don’t forget to make her aware this is what you’re doing.
  • You can politely ask the host, if there is music playing, to reduce the volume so you can hear what your niece is saying.

Speak to the flight crew

So what about less apparent effects of hearing loss on holiday plans? You know, the ones you don’t see coming?

When families are spread out, lots of people need to fly somewhere. When you fly, it’s crucial to understand all the instructions and communication coming from the flight crew. So you need to be sure to tell them about your hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can give you visual instructions if necessary. It’s important that you don’t miss anything when flying!

Take breaks

It can be a lot of work trying to communicate when you have hearing loss. You might find yourself growing more tired or exhausted than you once did. As a result, it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.

Consider getting hearing aids

How are relationships affected by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in a lot of ways!

Every interaction with your family through the holidays will be enhanced by hearing aids and that’s one of the greatest benefits. And, the greatest part, you won’t have to keep asking people to repeat themselves.

Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.

Keep in mind that it could take you some time to get used to your hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Of course, everybody’s experience will differ. But we can help you with the timing.

You can get help navigating the holidays

When you have hearing loss, sometimes, it can feel as if nobody understands what you’re going through, and that you have to do it all by yourself. It’s like hearing loss is affecting your personality in this way. But you’re not alone. You can navigate many of the challenges with our help.

Holidays can be tough enough even under typical circumstances and you don’t want hearing loss to make it even harder. During this holiday season, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct approach.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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