Christmas is almost here, and it’s the season for get-togethers with family and friends, which means it’s also the season for large groups of people talking and laughing boisterously together. These kinds of social situations can present a problem to people living with hearing loss.
Obviously we want to spend time with our loved ones, and no one wants to feel left out of the fun and merriment.
A few years back, we asked our We’re All Ears community for tips on dealing with hearing loss at Christmas events.
This year we wanted to revisit the subject and offer you a few more tips on how best to enjoy the festive season if you have issues with hearing.
Pick a good place to sit
When you’re choosing a seat at the Christmas table, you’ll want to find one in the middle of the table with the best view of everyone around you. This is especially helpful if you’re used to reading lips. It can also help to sit with your back to a wall giving yourself a better chance of hearing more of the conversation without being distracted by noises coming from behind you. Don’t be shy when out comes to asserting your need to have a better seat.
Don’t let the music drown you out
Talk to your family and friends about playing carols and other music at a low volume so that you can have a better chance of hearing and contributing to conversations. During dinner especially, when conversation is at its peak, you should make sure that the TV is off and any background music is at a low volume so as not to interfere with your ability to follow along with everyone’s news and plans and above all those terrible jokes they put in Christmas crackers.
Talk to the person nearest you
This may seem simple, but it can help to avoid having a conversation across a long table. Try to move closer to the person you wish to talk with, chat with the person next to you and get people to come to you to continue their chats.
Get the best and most appropriate hearing devices
If you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss, you should immediately get that checked and if you know you have hearing loss and have already been fitted for a device, then you should make sure to bring and wear these devices so that you can better hear those around you. You should ensure that your devices are properly fitted and charged and wear them all day.
Always wear your hearing aids
Some people only wear their hearing aids when they feel they need to, but you should wear them all day and every day because this allows your brain time to adjust to your new hearing system. People who only wear their hearing aids “when they need them” often have little success with hearing aids in the long-term. The sound can be overwhelming if you’re not used to wearing them all the time, especially in large and noisy group situations. You need to retrain your ears to hear with the aid of your devices, and like anything worthwhile, this takes time. The longer and more frequently you wear your hearing aids, the easier it will be to adjust to your ‘new normal’, allowing your brain to determine which sounds are important and which are not. The process happens very quickly, so stick with it and you should be used to them in no time. Don’t keep your hearing aids in the drawer, keep them in use and start wearing them in the few weeks coming up to Christmas if you don’t already. If you’re unhappy with your current hearing aids, speak to your audiologist and get refitted so you can be happy with the right devices.
Try out other hearing devices
There is a range of technologies that can connect up with your hearing aids. These can connect to your phone, TV, computer, and stereo. You can also get remote microphone technology such as the Roger Pen enabling you to hear the conversation delivered directly into your hearing aids.
Surround yourself with good people
Your family and loved ones should want the best for you, so hopefully you can trust them to offer any kind of support you need. From providing something as small as just being a friendly face, to giving you deeper and more substantial assistance, you should never be afraid to ask them for their help. They’re there for you.
Reset your expectations
In the end, you may not actually be able to hear every word that everyone is saying, and that’s actually okay. You can still enjoy the atmosphere of the season while chatting with those near you and switching seats between courses. It’s the spirit of togetherness, which is the main thing.
Keep your spirits up
Above all, in addition to your hearing aids and other devices, the best tool to help you at this time of year is your positivity and Christmas cheer. It’s true, sometimes you may miss a word or two, but you’re with family, friends and loved ones and ‘tis the season to be merry. Keep smiling, laughing and enjoying the company and the holiday.