How to Survive a Family Gathering When You Have Hearing Loss
5 tips for enjoying the upcoming holiday season when your hearing is impaired
Having hearing loss can sometimes make you feel left out of conversations.
It’s easy to turn down invitations to parties and events, or to withdraw from group conversations because of hearing loss, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are 5 tips for enjoying the upcoming holiday season:
- Determine who might not know about your hearing loss. Make it a point to connect with those people during the celebration. Tell them about your hearing loss and that you want to hear what they have to say. Ask them to get your attention when they want to communicate. Try using this common “drill”: “Please look at me, speak slowly and forgive me if I ask you to repeat what you said.” Have a laugh about it. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
- Check your expectations, fears and concerns at the door. It’s Thanksgiving! The whole family is here, and you want nothing more than to participate in it all. You already know that the day will not go perfectly, and you may miss a lot of the news and conversation. That said, you can always get contact information for those with whom you wish to continue communicating. Emails, texts and cell phones now afford us a variety of convenient and accessible ways to communicate – just one more thing for which to be thankful.
- Double, or single-sided deafness? Location, location, location. Sit in the middle of the table and try your best to hear what’s going on. Or seat yourself at a good angle to at least see everyone. If you can, have some family members who know how to communicate with you (and who won’t place extraordinary demands on your hearing) sit near you so you can have your own conversation circle.
- Save the day for a family member with hearing loss. Let them know you know that they are hard of hearing and offer to help them communicate with others if they need assistance. You can be their translator – stand or sit near them to help with conversations. Make a point of spending some time chatting to make them feel part of the celebration.
- Try using a personalized hearing amplifier. A headset from the Wear & Hear line can give you the boost you need to take an active part in holiday conversations. These devices are self-tunable, lightweight, and very comfortable. When not in use, the magnetized ear buds will hold the headset in place on your chest (like a pair of glasses). They let you be in charge of your own hearing!