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.

HOLIDAY PARTIES FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED

During the holidays, family gatherings and parties abound. For those with hearing loss these festivities may be a source of stress and insecurity. The constant concentration required to focus on conversation with a lot of background noise can be exhausting and overwhelming. Because of this, many people with hearing loss may avoid parties and holiday gatherings altogether.

If you have a loved one who suffers from hearing loss, making a few simple changes can help them to be more comfortable at your party and make them happy to attend your gathering.

Turn down the music; turn up the lights.

Parties can be dark and noisy with loud music. If your interior is bright and the music is not too loud, it can keep the noise levels down and help people to see and understand their conversation partners better.

Break it up.

Set aside areas for different activities and space them out: a space for mingling, a space for eating, another for dancing, and another to watch sporting events. This can break up background noise and make the party easier to navigate.

Watch out for wallflowers.

When people are exhausted from the efforts of communication and want to escape, they may retreat to a quiet room or corner. If you see someone doing this, engage them in a one-on-one conversation in a quiet area so they don’t feel left out. And don’t push them to return to the festivities until they are ready.

Be mindful of the needs of guests.

We often think to ask in advance about dietary restrictions, but we can also ask about other issues guests may have, and if they have a seating preference at the dinner table as a result. If you can seat someone with hearing issues in the middle of the table instead of the end, it could help them to hear what is going on better and feel more involved in the evening.

Breaks can be good.

If you see a loved one “taking a break” from the party, allow some time for them to regroup. They may just need five or ten minutes of peace and then be ready to get back to the party.

If you plan your party with your hearing-impaired loved ones in mind, it’s much more likely that they will be comfortable enough to attend and have a great time at your gathering.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.