For most people, the best part of Christmas isn’t presents, mince pies or roast ham – it’s spending precious time with loved ones. We’re sure most would agree that the real magic of the festive season is spending quality time with friends and family.
But this time of year isn’t so festive for some. Christmas can be an incredibly lonely time for people who live with hearing loss.
Why do people with hearing loss experience loneliness at Christmas?
When you find it difficult to follow conversation in large groups or have trouble hearing conversation at all above background noise, Christmas lunch can be less of a celebration and more of a prolonged struggle to communicate. Family members can quickly forget the best methods to communicate with hard of hearing relatives, failing to get their attention before speaking to them or forgetting to engage them in one-on-one conversation.
Very often, a person who is hard of hearing might find it is simply easier to give up and retreat into his or her shell. Sadly, many people with hearing loss simply decline invitations during the festive season as they find it too hard to communicate.
Why is loneliness a big problem?
Loneliness isn’t just a matter of feeling a bit blue over the holiday season. Staying social is one of the most important factors for maintaining mental health and longevity. Research has shown time and time again that sustained isolation can lead to depression and cognitive declines. It is also a big risk factor in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
What can you do to reduce isolation this Christmas?
If you’re experiencing isolation as a result of your hearing loss, don’t let another Christmas pass you by! This time of year is full of joyful celebrations and you should be able to take part.
We recommend a bit of light reading to help you tackle any communication issues. Take a look at our tips for communicating with grandchildren this Christmas, or send this list of tips for communicating with hard of hearing people to your relatives. These tips for dealing with hearing loss at family events are also worth a read.
If you’re thinking about making plans with friends for a pre-Christmas catch-up, check out our advice for avoiding noisy restaurants.
Finally, if you don’t already have hearing aids, now is a good time to look into being fitted with a pair. These amazing devices can improve your quality of life dramatically, and you never know – you might just enjoy Christmas a bit more with them. Book an appointment with a Connect Hearing clinician to talk about your options.