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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you ponder Thanksgiving, what do you think about besides turkey? Does the cooking and preparing with the family begin days before? Will you catch up with each other while following grandma’s famous homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laugh and play. Or are you struggling to catch the punchline of every joke?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. You can take control of your holiday experience, from hearing a salesperson at a noisy store to chatting over drinks at the company party. You don’t need to be held hostage by loss of hearing. Consider how to get the most out of your holiday in spite of your loss of hearing. Here are some recommendations.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

Parties might be the most challenging for those with loss of hearing. Here are some tips that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Visual clues should be carefully noted. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. Let them know you didn’t hear what they said.
  • Perhaps try stepping out of the room, even if just for a while. It will allow your brain to have a chance to a rest.
  • Manage Your Expectations. It’s pointless going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Things will be more difficult due to your hearing loss. Just approach it with a sense of humor and don’t allow the difficulties to stress you out.
  • Maybe there is a quiet place in the room with better acoustics where you can go.
  • Move away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Some of the background noise can be blocked if you stand with your back to a wall.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • In order to get things you may have missed, enlist a hearing buddy to sit with you.
  • Provide some visual cues of your own. Something as simple as cupping your hand behind your ear can tell someone you have difficulty hearing without you needing to point it out.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the difficulties of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. To make your holiday trip go smoother, try these tips.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be challenging to hear the announcements over the speaker if you are flying or taking a train. If you want to make the trip smoother there are some things you can do. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they provide any special services for the hearing impaired. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They might even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can ask for priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is offered unless you ask, but do it a few weeks before your trip.

Be certain the attendants recognize you have hearing loss when you board. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you about a drink.

Lodging Tips

If you are staying at a hotel, let them know you are hearing impaired when you set your reservation. Vibrating alarm clocks and phones that flash lights instead of ringing are devices that are offered for those who suffer from hearing loss at many resorts. In order to improve your safety, some places also have alarms that flash lights.

What Hearing Aid Essentials to Pack

If this is your first trip with your hearing aids, you might not be certain what you need to take with you. Pack these essentials:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Replacement batteries or a second charger

Keep your hearing aids in as you pass security. Removing them is not required. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. In the latest hearing aids, there are functions that will get rid of background noise, enhance conversation while amplifying sound. The holidays are a once a year occasion. Whether you have had hearing loss the majority of your life or just got them, there is no reason the holidays shouldn’t be everything you remember. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to learn what your hearing solutions are.