The holidays are here. It might be the only time all year you get together with your whole family. Of course, you want to talk to everyone, get to know new additions (spouses, grandkids, and friends), share stories and memories, and laugh. When you have hearing loss, the holidays can be stressful and worrisome. Large dining room tables make conversation difficult. Everyone is talking at once and the football game and music in the background makes it almost impossible for you to participate.
You can do several things so you don’t feel left out, and not enjoy yourself.
- Limit background noise. Ask the host to turn down the TV or music.
- Try to sit in the middle of the table.
- Take breaks. Listening and concentrating so intently is exhausting. Go outside, find a quiet spot, and give your ears and your brain a rest. Then you will be ready for more socializing.
- Bring your humor. Forget being embarrassed. So what if you say the wrong thing or answer incorrectly. Laugh at the mis-hearings. They can be hilarious.
- Wear your hearing aids and make the most of them. You have two computers in your ears. They are smart, really smart, with special settings for different situations and environments.
- Hearing aids have special gadgets and accessories to make hard situations easier – tiny microphones to put on the table to pick up voices and deliver them to your ears, chair loops that connect directly to your hearing aids. Don’t be afraid of technology. It’s easier than you think. Experiment.
- Cupping your hand to your ear is a signal for others to talk louder
- Have reasonable expectations. You are not going to hear everything everyone says. That’s ok. With visual cues (facial expressions, lip reading), and context, you can usually get the gist of, and participate in the conversation.
- Don’t fake it. Don’t just nod and pretend you hear or laugh just because everyone else is laughing. It can end up being embarrassing for you or insulting to someone else. Be honest. Be brave. Ask them to repeat. Tell them you have difficulty hearing/understanding.
Enjoy the holidays. Have fun with your family. Every moment is precious, don’t miss it!