They’re here! The holidays are often filled with parties, family gatherings and work events. Even the grocery stores are busier. Fun, but potentially stressful if you have a hearing loss. I hope the following suggestions will help make the season more enjoyable for you:
Plan before the event. Think about where you are going and who you will encounter. Will you be at a home, a restaurant, or maybe a business? With friends, family, business associates? Speak to the hosts/organizers ahead of time about your needs. Consider how you will communicate your hearing loss to others and practice the conversations. Try to come up with ways to remind people you need a little accommodation without making anyone feel bad. Humor helps.
Let those around you know you have a hearing loss. At the event, inform or remind people of your hearing loss, and how they can communicate with you better. If you need people to face you when they speak, let them know. If they are talking too fast or too softly, inform them. No one is perfect, so if they forget, have a gentle reminder ready to keep the communication going. Let them know you appreciate their efforts.
Take strategic timeouts. Hearing in a lively atmosphere might wear you out physically and emotionally. There is nothing wrong with stepping away for a few minutes and taking a few deep breaths in a quite spot.
Sit next to people you find easier to communicate with and hear. Dinners where lots of people are at the same table can be tough going. Be sure to think strategically about who is sitting on either side of you. Sitting near those who don’t mind filling you in on any missed items and who understand your needs can be a Godsend.
Choose your seat or position in the room with care. At a table, select a spot where your back is against the wall, if possible, and try to put as many faces as possible within your view. If you are standing, try finding a quieter part of the room to hold conversations. You don’t want to talk while sitting next to a television or while standing in the middle of a noisy room if you can avoid it. Attempt to minimize background noises by strategically placing yourself in less-complicated communication zones.
Make sure your devices are functioning properly. Visit us and let us clean and check your hearing aids. Also, be prepared with fresh batteries.