It's a wonderful time of year. The holiday season is meant to be a time of celebration, connection and joy. But if you're managing hearing loss, the holidays can be a challenge. The inability to hear conversations, especially at noisy gatherings, may make you want to avoid social situations.
You're not alone. A National Council on the Aging, Seniors Research Group study found that older adults with untreated hearing loss were less likely to participate in social activities compared to those who wore hearing aids. But social isolation can lead to strained relationships, depression and more.
It's important to get out there and enjoy your family and friends over the holidays. Here are some workarounds for enjoying a successful holiday season with hearing loss.
#1 Tell someone
Let the host and a few trusted guests be your advocates. Let them know that you're managing hearing loss so they can understand where you're coming from and can help you throughout a gathering. 36 million - or one in nine - Americans have hearing loss, so chances are that someone else in the room is experiencing the same thing.
If you're hosting this year, check out our tips to make listening easier for your holiday guests who have hearing loss.
#2 Be assertive
You will have to ask people to repeat themselves. Own it and anticipate it. Try a new spin on this request by asking others to rephrase what they said. Sometimes we struggle to hear certain sounds, so using different words with different letters might make understanding easier.
If you need to, ask for the background music to be turned down or ask someone to go to a quieter room to have a conversation. Or if it's nice out, suggest a walk outside away from the noise. It's also the perfect excuse to work off those delicious holiday treats.
#3 Stay close
The closer you are to the person you're talking to, the easier they will be to hear. Sit nearby in a well-lit place so it's easy to read lips, facial expressions and body gestures. Most communication is nonverbal, so staying close is an easy way to get extra context if you miss a little of what someone says. Plus, the holidays are all about togetherness, so snuggle up.
#4 Set up expectations
Struggling to hear and interpret conversations takes a lot of work and is cognitively demanding. You might get tired earlier than others. Establish expectations early that you may be leaving before others if you get tired. Want more details? Here's information on how hearing loss changes your brain.
#5 Get checked
The holidays are the time of year to strengthen relationships with family and friends. Make sure you can communicate your very best. There so are many effective hearing solutions out there and 95% of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.
If you think you have hearing loss, don't wait. It's important to identify and treat hearing loss early. The longer you wait to get treatment, the more challenging it can be for the brain to relearn and other health issues can arise. Take our interactive hearing quiz and set up a hearing screening today.
Here's to a happy, safe and healthy holiday season from all of us at Amplifon Hearing Health Care!