Updated: Nov 23, 2020
By Dr. Angela Seuser
It’s here! Time for the holiday hustle and bustle which means holiday parties, family gatherings, children’s’ concerts, church events, holiday shopping and the list goes on. All of these events are exciting and fun to participate in; however, when you have hearing loss, the experience can almost be more daunting and frustrating than enjoyable. Untreated hearing loss for most individuals creates difficulty understanding speech, especially in the presence of noise. Gatherings and social events with poor acoustics create even more difficulty, even for individuals with normal hearing. We often hear patients report that the holiday season can be dreadful because of their difficulty to communicate with their loved ones. Instead of putting themselves in the aggravating position of asking “huh” and “pardon me” repeatedly, individuals often chose to sit and pretend like they hear, or worse, decide not to go to a gathering altogether. Loved one’s of those with hearing loss report frustration that their loved one sits alone in the other room or at the end of the table, unable to actively participate in the conversation. Unfortunately, this entire experience just leads to further loneliness, isolation and depression. The holiday season is meant to bring joy, not frustration. Don’t let hearing loss take control of your or your loved one’s quality of life. Use this opportunity to learn about your hearing ability and how your hearing care professional may be able to offer help.
Hearing loss does not mean the holidays have to be stressful or depressing.
Here are some tips on ways you or your loved one can have a joyful season and participate in the festivities:
- See a hearing care professional to learn about your hearing ability and possible treatment options.
- When speaking to someone with hearing loss, speak at a slightly elevated level with a moderate rate and distinction.
- Let friends and family know you have hearing difficulties. Face to face interaction within a 6 foot distance will help you be able to hear and understand easier.
- If you have hearing aids, wear them. Practice in different environments and figure out what modifications help you most! Ask your hearing care professional how they can help.
- Connect with your loved ones. Don’t avoid parties and gatherings.
- Volunteer. Bringing joy to others helps us remember our own blessings.