The holidays are "hear": How to make the holidays hearing-loss friendly. - Rehab

The holidays are “hear”: How to make the holidays hearing-loss friendly.

Dec 2023 Hearing at Holidays

In this blog, you’ll learn some tips on how to help create a hearing-loss friendly environment that’ll help everyone thrive while celebrating the holidays.

One of our favorite times of the year is here… the holiday season. It’s a time for family members, friends or loved ones to get together to celebrate and spend time catching up with one another.

While this time of year may bring joy for some, it may bring some added stress or emotions to others, especially those with hearing loss.

Here are some ways you can support your guests as a host:

  • Pull aside the individual with a hearing loss in a discrete way and ask how you can help make their visit easier and ask if there is there anything you can do to support them throughout the gathering.
  • Create a quiet area for people to catch up.
  • Make sure the room is bright enough for everyone to see each other, especially to help everyone follow the conversation.
  • See if you can turn down, turn off or mute holiday music, football games, or other background noise, particularly while eating.
  • Check in with your guests. If you notice someone with hearing loss may be withdrawing from the conversations or quiet, please try to help bring them back into the conversation and encourage others to do the same.
  • Try to take a moment to chat with everyone, including those with hearing loss.
  • Ask those with hearing loss where the best spot for them to sit at the dinner table is ahead of time and help make it easier for them.
  • Speak clearly while providing dinner instructions or even in general.
  • If someone is unable to hear you, try rephrasing the words to help them better understand you.
  • During the dinner, ask if people will take turns and go around the table to share a favorite memory or highlight from the year, what they are thankful for, or what they are looking forward to in the following year as an activity.

Here are some tips on how you can handle your hearing loss with grace at the holiday gatherings you’ll be attending:

  • Notify the host ahead of time to let them know you may have a difficult time hearing in certain environments and see about accommodations.
  • Arrive early to catch up with family and friends before it gets too crowded or too loud.
  • Be honest, let people know about your communication needs and self-advocate if you are having a hard time hearing.
  • Wear your hearing aids at all times to make sure your hearing loss doesn’t get in the way of a good time.
  • Make sure your hearing aids are clean, up-to-date and your batteries are fully charged.
  • Ask a family member or friend to help remind others of your communication needs and if they can help repeat things.
  • Have reasonable expectations and know it’s okay if you don’t hear everything.
  • Consider using an assistive listening device just like the ReSound Multi Mic or the ReSound Micro Mic to help make sure you never miss a word.
  • Speak up if you are having trouble hearing or give visual cues to help notify others.
  • See if background noises like holiday music can be reduced or limited.
  • Choose the best seat to you and make sure you can see others.
  • Find a quieter area for conversations, especially if they are more one-one-one if need be.
  • Converse with those next to you.
  • Ask if closed captioning can be turned on the television if anything like a football game is being shown.
  • Don’t shout across the room, make sure to walk over to the person and talk to them directly.

Keep these tips in mind when hosting or attending a holiday gathering or get together to ensure everyone feels included in the environment. We hope you all enjoy your holiday gatherings and have a safe and happy holiday season!