The holidays can be difficult for people managing hearing loss, but also for family and friends who want to ensure those with hearing loss feel included.
The holidays are a special time for celebration with loved ones. However, the holiday festivities may be more of a challenge if you’re managing hearing loss. The inability to hear friends and family, especially at noisy gatherings, may make you dread the holidays looking for ways to avoid these uncomfortable social settings.
You are not alone in this situation, in fact, one study found that older adults with untreated hearing loss were less likely to participate in social activities compared to those who wore hearing aids.1 But social isolation can lead to strained relationships, depression and more. So, don’t miss out. Use the tips below to help you navigate this holiday season.
Tips for those managing hearing loss during the holidays:
#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 the gathering.
#2 Be assertive
It’s important to know that you will have to ask people to repeat themselves, so own and anticipate it. Certain sounds can be difficult to hear sometimes, so try asking others to rephrase what they said.
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.2
Tips for those hosting:
There are more than 37 million Americans – or one in nine- who are dealing with hearing loss3, so chances are there may be one or more people managing hearing loss at your holiday events this season. As a holiday host, use the tips below to help to make it easier for your guests with hearing loss to join the conversation and feel more welcome.
#1 Assign seating strategically
Consider positioning these guests at the middle of the table with their back against the wall; this enables participation in more conversations without distracting noise coming from behind.
#2 Provide adequate lighting
A well-lit room makes it easier to see facial expressions and the mouths of those who are speaking.
#3 Slow down when conversing face to face
Maintain a normal pace and volume and pronounce your words as clearly as possible. This makes it easier for others to hear your words, and it allows them to see your mouth, facial expressions and body language.
#4 Designate a kids’ dining room
Young voices can be very loud, interfering with conversations among adults.
#5 Turn down the volume
For many, holiday music and football are holiday staples. But it can also be a listening distraction and interfere with conversation. Turn off the music or the game during the meal or consider designating a separate room for them.
Amplifon Hearing Health Care is ready to help you or your loved one who is having trouble hearing. Call today and our Patient Care Advocates will help you find a provider nearby and schedule an appointment!
1The National Council on the Aging: https://www.ncoa.org/wp-content/uploads/NCOA-Study-1999.pdf
2, 3 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing