The holidays are a time to reconnect with family, spend time with grandkids and nieces and nephews, and enjoy the company of good friends. But if you have hearing loss, it can also be an anxiety-provoking time of year as you worry if they will be able to join in the festivities.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to ruin your holiday season. A little planning can ensure you are able to take part in all the holiday fun.
Exercising your ears
That’s right; your ears need an exercise regiment, too. Learning to hear with a hearing aid takes practice, and there are plenty of ways to build up your hearing skills.
Simulate noisy situations at home and practice carrying on conversations. Focus on tuning out the background noise to follow along with the speaker. Another drill is to close your eyes and have your friend or partner quietly move to different parts of the room and make noise. Try to identify the direction and distance of the sound.
Use technology. CLIX is a FREE app for adults using hearing aids or cochlear implants who want to practice listening for word differences in both quiet and noisy environments. LACE auditory training programs are designed to help develop strategies for communicating in difficult hearing situations.
Planning to go out
When you are planning to dine out with family or friends, weigh in on the details. Look for restaurants that offer private dining rooms without charging a minimum. When that isn’t possible, seek out places with carpet, drapes, and lower ceilings, and ask for a table away from the kitchen and bar. Out-of-the-way corners and booths are best. When you arrive, take a seat at the head of the table so you aren’t in the middle of several conversations.
When you attend a house party or dinner, pick a spot away from the speakers or television. Opt for one-on-one chats so you can focus. Don’t be shy about your hearing loss. Let people know you are missing some of the conversation with visual cues, like placing a hand to your ear to let your friend know to talk louder or slow down.
Using your hearing aids
Before a holiday event, test out different settings to see which ones help filter out background noise the best. Schedule an appointment with your Beltone hearing care professional before the holiday season kicks off so they can make sure your hearing aids are clean, working properly, and expertly fitted. They can also offer advice about how to adjust the settings to hear best in noisy environments and show you how to quickly make adjustments from your smartphone.
Always be sure to wear both your hearing aids. Even if your hearing is better in one ear, using two hearing aids makes it much easier to determine where the sound is originating. Be sure to pack extra batteries, a cleaning kit, or even an extra set of hearing just to stay prepared.
Are you having trouble hearing but not sure if you need a hearing aid? Schedule an appointment for a free hearing screening.