Surviving the Holidays with Hearing Loss

Ah, the holiday season! We have such fond memories of happy times, family get-togethers and the joy of it all. For people with hearing loss it can be the opposite feeling. There is no joy in not being able to talk to family and friends at large gatherings; in fact, some people may even dread it. If you have trouble understanding what is being said to you, chances are you smile and nod (which may be an inappropriate response), distance yourself from people (which makes you seem aloof or uncaring) or stay away from holiday events altogether (which increases isolation and depression).

But all is not lost! Here are some tips to make it easier for those with hearing loss. After all, the very essence of family and friends getting together is to communicate with each other. So enjoy it again.

Create an environment conducive to communication

  • Good table lighting for easy lip-reading
  • Keep the volume down on music
  • If TV is on, turn volume down and put captions on

Let people know when you don’t hear them

Don’t ask “what?”

  • Ask a specific question about the part you heard
  • Have people rephrase what they said

If you are the host

  • Prepare the meal ahead of time as much as possible
  • Think about using colorful paper plates and plastic cutlery

Take a 5-10 minute break

Find your spot for one-on-one conversations

  • Soft surfaces are quiet; hard surfaces reverberate
  • Face the person you are having a conversation with
  • Closer is better when trying to hear someone

Have a very Happy Holiday from Decibel Hearing

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