Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Woman with hearing loss feeling isolated during holidays.

When you think about Thanksgiving, what do you think about other than turkey? Do you start days before, cooking and getting ready with your family? Will you catch up with each other as you follow grandma’s classic homemade pecan pie recipe? Is it warm and cozy not just because of the aroma coming out of the oven, but because you’re together? Will you be laughing while the family enjoys hearing about your son’s grades or listening to the grandkids laughing and playing. Or are you fighting to hear what everyone is saying?

Loss of hearing doesn’t need to define the holiday season for you. From chatting over drinks at the company get together to hearing the salesperson over the din of holiday shoppers, you can take control of how you enjoy the holidays this season. Hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you hostage. Think about some tricks that will allow you to enjoy the holidays in spite of your hearing loss.

Those Holiday Get-Togethers

For anyone who has hearing loss, get-togethers might be the most difficult challenge. Here are some tricks that could make the experience less stressful:

  • Stand with your back to the wall. It can help block some of the background noise.
  • Step out of the room every once in a while. A little time for the brain to rest and recover will be extremely helpful.
  • Manage Your Expectations. There’s no point going to a party and expecting everything to go perfectly. Your hearing loss is going to make things more difficult. Don’t allow the difficulties to get you stressed out, just have a sense of humor about it.
  • Perhaps you could get a friend to pass you notes at a speech instead of whispering in your ears.
  • Find areas in the room that have better acoustics–perhaps a quiet corner.
  • Enlist a hearing buddy, a friend who sits with you who can repeat important things you missed.
  • Give some visual hints of your own. Something as basic as cupping your hand behind your ear can let someone know you’re having difficulty hearing without you needing to tell someone.
  • Pay attention to the visual clues. Someone is probably talking to you if they are looking right at you. If you didn’t hear what they said tell them.
  • Move away from any speakers that might interfere with your hearing aids. If the music is loud, ask the host to turn it down a bit so you can hear better, too.
  • Ask for a seat at the middle of the table so you don’t feel so isolated.

Travel Tips

Don’t permit the challenges of hearing loss to get in the way of your travels. Here are some recommendations to help make your holiday travels go smoothly.

Flying or Taking the Train

It can be difficult to hear the announcements over the intercom if you are flying or taking a train. There are a few things you can do to make the trip better. Start off by checking with the airport to see if they offer any special services for the hearing impaired. They might have special signs that visually show oral announcements or apps you can get on your phone to see track changes or other critical information. They could even offer a sign language interpreter or priority boarding. You can request priority seating if being close enough to ask questions or read lips. Security may have a special line that you can get in, also. You won’t know what is possible until you ask, but do it a few weeks before you go.

When you get on board, be certain the attendants are aware you have hearing loss. That way they will know to tap you on the shoulder if you don’t answer when they ask you if you want a drink.

Lodging Tips

When you reserve your hotel room, inform them you are hearing impaired. Many resorts have rooms or devices available for those with hearing loss like vibrating alarm clocks and phones which flash lights instead of ringing. Some spots have fire alarms that flash the lights, too, to improve your safety while you stay with them.

If You Are Traveling With Hearing Aids, Take These Essentials

You may not be sure what to take with you if this is your first time traveling with your hearing aids. Pack these essentials:

  • Additional accessories
  • A cleaning kit
  • Extra batteries or a second charger

As you pass security keep your hearing aids in. You do not need to remove them. Also, during a flight, you can keep them in.

And if you don’t already have hearing aids, perhaps it’s time. There are features in quality hearing aids that will amplify sound while enhancing conversations and eliminating background noise. The holidays only come once a year. There is no reason the holidays can’t be all that you remember whether you’ve always had hearing loss or if you are new to it. Make an appointment with your hearing care expert to find out what your hearing solutions are.

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