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Hearing Loss During the Holidays

family at a holiday dinner

The holidays can be difficult for individuals with hearing loss, as communication in large group settings can be challenging at times. Here are a few tips for holiday gatherings to ensure everyone feels connected and comfortable this holiday season. 

The person with hearing loss can:

  • 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.
  • Sit strategically. Try to sit in a position where you can see as many people as possible. Visual cues are important for keeping up and being actively involved in the conversation. If at a restaurant, ask for a booth by a wall to reduce the commotion of your surroundings.
  • It’s okay to ask someone to repeat themselves. There may be times when you can't understand what someone is saying, kindly ask if they can repeat it. 
  • Stay close to a buddy. Stay close to someone you trust and who can help you communicate. They can fill you in on parts of the conversation you might miss.

To help, family members and friends can:

  • Speak clearly and slowly. Be patient, communicating with hearing loss is a cooperative effort and requires understanding from both sides.
  • Make eye contact and face your loved ones when speaking. Facing your loved one and avoiding covering your mouth helps communication. 
  • Talk into their “good ear.” Some individuals with hearing loss have one ear that is stronger than the other. Look for cues as to which ear that is, ask them if appropriate and situate yourself on that side of your listener.   
  • Minimize background noise. Make the setting more accessible by turning off the TV or any music while dinner is being served. 

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.