Hearing for the Holidays

November 20, 2019

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Dr. Darcy Benson

Dr. Benson completed her audiology fellowship at the California Ear Institute, Palo Alto, CA, and received her Doctor of Audiology degree at Salus University, Osborne School of Audiology, Elkins Park, PA. Prior to that, she received her Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA.
Dr. Darcy Benson

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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.