Hearing for the Holidays

The holiday season is here! If you have difficulty hearing, you may not be looking forward to holiday gatherings and parties as much as you used to. This time of year can bring up some anxiety for people who have hearing loss. You or your loved ones may worry about how well you can communicate during family gatherings, or you may fear being embarrassed when you don’t hear conversation correctly. Background noise and group situations require your constant attention, and this can be tiring and overwhelming.

It may be enough for you to want to opt out of holiday festivities altogether. But don’t miss out on all of the fun! There are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your holidays, even if you have difficulty hearing.

Let the Host Know

Before the party even begins, let the host of the party know you find it harder to hear in group situations and in background noise. Let them know that you are a bit self-conscious and you just want them to be aware of your hearing issues. That way, they can help facilitate a better experience for you by giving you particular seats at the dinner table, for example.

Ask for Brighter Lights and Lowered Background Music

Holiday gatherings, particularly at night, may have low lights and background music that can make it difficult for you to hear or communicate. Suggest that the host brighten the atmosphere and turn down the music a bit. This will make communication easier for everyone at the party, not just for you.

Keep it Separated

If there are a few different things going on at the gathering, suggest they all be sectioned off into different areas of the space. For example, karaoke in one room, the meal or buffet in another room, dancing in another room, and games in a different room. This will keep the background noise to a minimum and help to preserve your sanity when trying to interact at the party.

Stay Engaged, and Take a Break When you Need It

Communication may be a bigger effort for you than it used to be, so if you feel overwhelmed or fatigued, don’t be afraid to separate yourself to a quiet place for a break. That way when you do engage with others you will feel refreshed and won’t get irritable.

Keep Communication in Mind

If you want to be included in the conversation, you need to be able to hear what is going on. Ask if you can be seated in the middle of the table instead of on the end (even though often the end is dedicated as a place of honor) so you can be included in the conversation.

If you keep communication in mind and involve your host, you will have a much better experience and don’t have to worry about going to gatherings this holiday season.

Schedule a Tune Up

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for your annual hearing evaluation and, if you wear hearing devices, to make sure they are working at their best. If your devices have older technology, this may be a good time to test drive something new. Ask us about trying a set of demos during the holidays. You might just be amazed at how well you can hear.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO TEST FOR HEARING LOSS

If you suspect you may have hearing loss, it is recommended that you be tested to confirm if you have hearing loss, and how advanced it is.

If you have never had a hearing evaluation done before, you may be wondering what is involved. There are several ways to test for hearing loss, so we will go through a brief overview of them here. Not to worry: all methods are quick, easy and painless!

Simple Audible Tests

A test that is quick and easy is the whisper test: your doctor may ask you to cover one ear and whisper near the other ear to determine if you have hearing in that ear. Though it is not incredibly accurate, it can give the doctor a good idea of where to begin with other tests.

Get a Physical Exam

Your general physician may offer a hearing screening as part of your health check-up. This evaluation may include a physical examination: looking in your ear for inflammation, excessive ear wax or even structural problems that can lead to hearing loss.

Tuning Forks

Tuning forks are metal forks that produce a tune when they are hit together. Doctors can use tuning forks to do a quick test of hearing loss overall and where the damage has occurred.

Audiometer

An audiologist may also use an audiometer, which is a more accurate and thorough way to test hearing ability. During this test, you will be asked to wear headphones, with sounds isolated to one ear or the other. The sound will be repeated at different volume levels to test which you can hear.

Treatment for temporary hearing loss will depend on the source of the hearing loss. If you have a physical blockage, for example, like ear wax or a structural issue with your ear, the doctor may be able to remove or remedy it. For more severe structural issues surgery may help to correct the problem and restore normal hearing.

Cochlear implants may be another option if parts of the inner ear are not working correctly. Your doctor can explain this option, as well as its risks and benefits, if it is necessary for you.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.