Hearing Loss Communication Tips for Holiday Gatherings

The holiday season is in full swing. It’s a time for many of us to gather, celebrate, and spend time with our families. It’s also likely your social calendar is a lot busier than normal! 

It is estimated that 15% of American adults have impaired hearing. If you have a hearing loss, you probably already know the unique challenges that come with it. The increased social excursions in the holiday season can be overwhelming.  

Hearing loss shouldn’t stop you from enjoying and partaking in all the great parts of the festive season. We’ve put together these Hearing Loss Communication Tips for Holiday Gatherings to help.

Hearing Loss Communication Tips for Holiday Gathering 

Practical Hearing Tips

The festive season brings with it an increase in social gatherings. With a lot of people celebrating together, the noise can quickly escalate! If you have a hearing impairment, this can pose a challenge. 

These practical hearing tips can help maximize your hearing and communication abilities. Note: if you’re not hosting the social event, we recommend speaking to the host a day in advance. Give them a quick overview of your hearing impairment, and share the tips below with them. 

  • Background noise such as television or music is best kept to a low level.  
  • Lighting is important. A well lit table will make it easier to read lips and catch visual cues, helping you understand what is said more easily.
  • Seating arrangements. You may benefit from sitting in the middle, this way you are close to everyone; helping you hear and see them better. It can also help to have a wall behind you to block out background noise and enable sound to bounce back into your ears.
  • Focus on hearing those closest to you, avoid talking across a distance. Accept you probably won’t hear every conversation. You could always suggest a seating shuffle after each course is served!
  • Take quiet breaks to rest your senses or in order to converse more clearly 1-2-1. Offer to help in the kitchen to help give you a brief noise detox. 

Communicating Tips  

We’ve covered how to maximize your hearing abilities in a crowded environment. These tips can help improve your communication abilities. 

  • Wear your hearing aids and adjust the settings prior to the event. You may also find device’s such as a personal FM system useful.
  • Before you speak to someone, get their attention either by saying their name or briefly touching their hand or arm.
  • Always face the person you are talking with.
  • Actively listen. Do not interrupt. 
  • Speak slowly and clearly. Do not shout.
  • It’s tempting to just nod along and pretend you can hear everything but it can lead to confusion and embarrassment. If you are struggling to hear, try the gesture of cupping your hand behind your ear- it’s simple but it works! 
  • To improve your confidence and subtly keep things running smoothly, why not ask to buddy up with someone who understands your hearing loss? They can fill in any gaps and involve you in the group conversation.
  • If you suffer from asymmetric hearing loss (one sided hearing loss), try sitting so that your best ear is closest to your companion.

The holiday season is about quality time with loved ones. Having a hearing loss shouldn’t keep you from enjoying that. We hope these tips help you have a wonderful time. 

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If you would like to speak to a hearing specialist, contact the team at Regional Hearing and Balance Center. Please call us on 208-497-3596, or click here to request an appointment online.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.