How to Deal with Hearing Loss during the Holidays
By Top-Rated Charlotte Audiologist, Dr. Gosu
The holidays are times of celebration but can pose certain challenges if you have trouble hearing. Communication problems and feelings of isolation during the holidays are common struggles for individuals with untreated hearing loss. The dilemma just naturally makes social gatherings potentially frustrating. There are ways to improve the situation and get in on the merriment, taking matters into your own hands but with little fanfare.
Speak to the Hostess/Host
The first responsibility of a host is to accommodate all guests, and it is perfectly acceptable to seek out the host with requests, as needed. As a person with hearing loss, a loud television playing during dinner can make it very difficult to hear the banter. Politely ask the host to turn down the volume at mealtime. You can also ask that closed captioning be turned on, if you are watching a family movie and can’t hear the dialogue.
If someone at the event has been helpful to you in the past, patiently keeping you in on conversations, ask them early on if they will sit with you at dinner, to help ensure that you can join in the conversation. The right person is one who won’t mind filling you in on missed dialogue. A person sensitive to your hearing loss can be identified in the following ways:
- They know to turn and speak to you so that you can watch their lips, to better discern what is being said.
- They have figured out that when something isn’t heard, sometimes it’s because certain sounds are tough to decipher. They rephrase things, when you don’t hear, as opposed to repeating the same words.
- They don’t interrupt when other people are speaking, understanding that it makes a conversation more difficult for a person with hearing loss to follow.
More Light on the Situation
Because the ability to see facial expressions and the mouths of people speaking is important, you may need to make an additional request of the host. Let them know that good lighting during meals can improve communication. Ask the host to forego dimmed lights and ensure that no one is in the shadows during the holiday feast.
Some of the best moments at parties are those involving one-on-one conversation. Seek out quiet corners, where there is little to no background noise, to relax and enjoy a quiet exchange. Your host may again be needed, to find a place away from the noisiness of the day.
Best Seat in the House
Hopefully you’ve got a buddy to help you at dinner, and the way to cap off the enjoyment of the day is by choosing the best seat that will enhance your experience. Your seat should not be near an opening to a noisy room, such as the kitchen or den, where some may choose to eat while watching sports. If you have choices of tables to sit at, have your meal at a round table, if possible. Try to sit where people you want to chat with are gathered, so that it’s easier to hear and see them.
By taking steps to be involved and enable yourself to better join in on discussions during the holidays, you make such events even more successful.