How to Handle Hearing Loss During the Holidays

How to Handle Hearing Loss During the Holidays
’Tis the season for holiday gatherings with family and friends. For most people, it’s a season filled with good cheer, but for hearing loss sufferers, it can be a season filled with frustration. According to the World Health Organization, people with hearing loss can sometimes experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings can unfortunately intensify during the holiday season.

Holiday gatherings can mean struggling to communicate with loved ones. For example, someone with hearing loss may find themselves simply smiling and nodding when they’re unable to understand what’s being said or follow the conversations. In a large group setting, it can also mean dealing with the clamor of competing conversations and exposure to noisy environments, which can make it very difficult to understand what individuals are saying. However, the challenge of hearing loss does not have to be a hindrance this holiday season.

Here are some tips to help you stay connected:
 
  • Wear your hearing aids: If you have hearing aids, don’t forget to wear them. Be sure to visit your audiologist for a hearing aid cleaning and tune-up to make sure your devices are functioning in optimal condition.
  • Don't be shy about your needs: Let your loved ones know you want to make sure you’re a part of conversations. Politely ask them to keep background noise to a minimum and to speak clearly and loudly.
  • Team up: If you’re in a large group, partner with a friend or relative who can help fill you in on any part of the conversation  you may have missed.
  • Be strategic with your seating: Try to sit in a position where you will be able to see as many people as possible. Visual cues are critical for keeping up or being actively involved in  the conversation.
  • Go easy on yourself: Group settings can be a challenge and even people who don’t suffer from hearing loss may have trouble following every conversation.  Don’t be too hard on yourself and be sure to take a break from the festivities in a quiet space, if needed.
The Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) offers an array of resources and services to help people with hearing loss, including comprehensive hearing evaluations, individualized treatment plans, hearing protection, amplification devices as well as hearing aid cleaning and repair. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist at PEI, please call 215.780.3180.