The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, right?
The answer can be complicated for those with hearing loss. They may struggle to take part in conversations with beloved friends and family around the bustling kitchen, dinner table, and living room – also making it a frustrating time of the year.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can have better listening experiences – or create them for your loved one with hearing loss – during the busy holiday season, missing fewer conversations and important bits of family news.
Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa and with locations throughout Northern Iowa and Albert Lea, Minnesota offers the following tips:
If You Have Hearing Loss
- Avoid the kitchen: The kitchen is good for grazing, but not as conducive for conversations with the chatter, vent fans, and clanging of plates filling the soundscape. Take the conversation to a quieter spot to have less frustrating conversations.
- Partner up: Ask an easily heard family member or friend to sit beside you at mealtime or at your side during socializing. They can help fill you in on topics of conversation you may be having a hard time hearing.
- Ask children to get closer: Encourage kids to be next to the person with hearing loss. Their higher-pitched voices can be significantly harder to pick up.
- Pay attention to lighting: Because visual cues and lip reading are important factors in understanding speech, try to engage speaking partners in well-lit rooms. If you’re having trouble, ask the host to adjust the lighting.
If You Have A Family Member With Hearing Loss
- Table positioning: Use a round table if possible – this puts everyone in a better position to see faces and read lips. If using a rectangular table, position yourself in a seat that that puts your better ear toward the conversation.
- Turn down the tunes: Everyone (OK not everyone) loves “Jingle Bells,” but the holiday music in the background can make it that much more difficult to hear voices. Turn it down or have it playing in a room off to the side where it isn’t as much of a factor.
- Opt for paper or plastic: Using disposable plates and utensils for a meal or two can eliminate the clanking of china and silverware.
- Keep trying: If your loved one repeatedly asks for clarification, use different phrases instead of repeating the same sentence. Even if it’s frustrating, don’t say “never mind” and move on – that can cause them to feel sad and isolated.