Here are some tips for people with hearing loss to better enjoy holiday gatherings.
For many people with hearing loss, the holidays can be especially challenging. While large family gatherings offer a great chance to catch up with friends and family, holiday parties can lead to challenging listening situations for people with hearing loss.
HOLIDAYS AND HEARING LOSS: THE TIPS
Find a quiet corner – Stand away from loud speakers and noisy kitchens and position yourself in the quietest area of the room. This way you can hear conversation rather than noise.
Pick your seat – If you’re having a sit-down dinner, pick a seat at the center of the table nearest to a close friend or relative. This way you have a better chance of hearing conversation and enjoying your meal.
Pick your drink – A glass of wine can make you more relaxed– or it can confuse you and make your level of understanding worse. Be aware of what you are drinking and your own level of tolerance.
Buddy up – Find a friend or relative with whom you can hang out at the party. This person can help you to feel more included in conversation and can repeat things you may not understand.
HOLIDAYS AND HEARING AIDS
If you have hearing aids, it’s important that you wear them to holiday events. You may think that with so much noise at a party or family dinner, hearing aids would just make things louder, but modern digital hearing aids aren’t simple sound amplifiers. They are designed to filter out all the unwanted noise – like the clanging of dishes in the kitchen or the background music – and help you focus on speech.
HAVE THE “HEARING LOSS” CONVERSATION
Holiday gatherings are a good time to have “the conversation” with friends and loved ones. We’re talking about the conversation about hearing loss and getting hearing aids. If you think your loved one is unable to hear correctly, take out your phone or tablet and encourage them to take an online hearing test. This is a great first step to help someone realize they have a hearing loss.
HELP GUESTS WITH HEARING LOSS
You might not have hearing loss – but one of your guests might. Here are some tips on helping your guests with hearing loss enjoy your party”
Background music – Everyone loves a good Christmas carol, but when those carols are in the background of the conversations of 20+ people, no one can hear them anyways. Consider turning down the background music – or turning it off completely when several guests are socializing at once. People tend to speak louder to be heard over the music, so your music may in fact make the party louder.
Dish Duty – Hold off on cleaning the dishes until after your guests have left. For people with hearing loss, the clatter of kitchen dishes can distract from dinner time conversation. Take time to enjoy your guests rather than worrying about the clean-up!
Seating – If you know that one of your guests has a hearing loss, seat that person at the center of the table closest to those with the quietest voices. It may also help if you sit next to that person, so you can help him or her to better understand the conversation.