Black Friday has come and gone. Whether you were out in the trenches with a bazillion other crazed shoppers searching for deals in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley or preferred to sleep off your turkey coma, there is lots more holiday shopping to be completed before the year is over. If you have hearing loss this can be uncomfortable and tricky, but we’ve got some tips to make the shopping experience go more smoothly.
Tips for Braving the Holiday Shopping Crowds with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss presents many challenges in your day-to-day activities. Shopping trips are especially difficult; you’re sure to encounter crowded aisles, short-tempered cashiers and lots of background noise – especially this time of year, when stores and malls boost the volume on their holiday playlists to get you into the spirit. There’s nothing like hearing “Silver Bells” for the umpteenth time to entice you to spend more money, right?
With a little advance planning, your shopping trip will be a more pleasant one. When venturing out to do a little shopping, the following tips will help preserve your sanity and might even help boost your holiday spirit:
- Support small businesses. Not only are you championing your local economy, but shopping in smaller stores is far less stressful when dealing with hearing loss in Thousand Oaks. Big box retailers might have screaming deals on appliances, but the layout of their stores is notoriously poor for those with a hearing impairment. Large, open spaces translate to poor acoustics even in the best circumstances. Throw in hordes of holiday shoppers and you’ve got a very noisy environment that is sure to cause you stress and discomfort. Smaller, locally owned stores are generally less crowded – and therefore, less exhausting.
- Take advantage of hearing loops. If you wear hearing aids, use the telecoil setting to take advantage of loop induction systems that are found in many large public places, such as shopping malls. Look for the international symbol of access for hearing loss, which should be posted in the front of the store, often on a sticker in the window or door. If you don’t see a sign, ask a clerk or store manager if there is a loop system.
- Use a streaming device. Portable streaming devices improve the efficiency of your hearing aids by increasing their battery life and eliminating the need for a receiver, making them more lightweight – essential in preventing you from getting too tired when you’re planning to be on your feet for hours at a time and making multiple cross-town trips. They also help eliminate background noise, enabling you to hear more clearly.
- Plan your trip in advance. Know which stores you are hitting, and map them out in advance so you can get in and out as quickly as possible. Study the store layout so you’ll know where to find items you are looking for without having to ask store clerks for help, which can prove difficult with a hearing impairment. Bring along a friend or family member (though not one you are shopping for, obviously!) who can assist with communication efforts, relay store announcements, etc. Make sure your hearing aid batteries are fully charged before heading out – and bring along extras just in case.
- Shop online. If the thought of heading out to a busy store to shop is just too daunting, save yourself the hassle and stress and shop online. Even if you missed out on Cyber Monday, there are still plenty of great deals to be found on popular sites like Amazon. Best of all, there are no crowds to deal with and you’ll enjoy the convenience of having items delivered directly to your front door.
Contact your Simi Valley audiologist for more tips on managing the holiday season with hearing loss.