Thanksgiving and Christmas may look different than normal this year. Instead of a large family gathering, many people will choose to continue to social distance and celebrate the holidays with their immediate households. Regardless of whether you will be nearby or distant from your loved ones this holiday season, we want you to Hear for the Holidays.
Large dining room tables, lots of background chatter, and maybe a football game on TV can make the holidays stressful for someone with hearing loss. All of this commotion creates a challenging listening environment, and someone with hearing loss may worry about missing out on some of the fun.
Our number one recommendation for enjoying holiday gatherings is to wear your hearing aids! Hearing aids are able to make speech more understandable in addition to making it louder. Without your hearing aids, someone with hearing loss requires more cognitive energy to be devoted to communication. This can add stress and fatigue to the listener.
Our second recommendation is to talk to your loved ones about what accommodations can be made. They are aware of your hearing loss and want to make this day as easy as possible for you. There are a few simple requests that will help you hear better. The easiest accommodation is to reduce unnecessary background noise. Don’t have music playing during dinner. If someone is watching TV, can it be watched on mute?
Another simple request that can help people with hearing loss during the holidays is to plan the seating arrangements. Someone with hearing loss will be able to communicate best in a seat that allows them to see the faces of the people around them. A seat that puts their back against a wall will also reduce background noise.
More than ever, we need to depend on each other this year, and with the help of your loved ones you can create a memory that is worth cherishing.
This year has been a year like no other. Many families will make the difficult decision to cancel their in-person Holiday gatherings due to COVID-19. Luckily, video conferencing has become widespread this year and almost everyone is now familiar with Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime as a means to stay in touch with loved ones.
Even with video conferencing technology, people with hearing loss may still struggle and feel isolated from their families and friends. When video calling your loved one with hearing loss, there are a few simple things you can do to help make sure they can understand you.
- Use good lighting. Make sure your face is well lit so your lips and mouth movements are clearly visible. Don’t sit in front of a window or other light source that may cause shadows.
- Make an effort to speak at a slightly slower rate and clearly. – Clear enunciation is the key to clarity. Use full words with natural pauses and increased context. Instead of “I’m gonna run’to’the store. You want anything?” Say “I am going to the store to buy some milk. Do you need anything?”
- Smaller groups are better. Even though it’s fun to have 10+ people on one video call, this can make it extremely difficult for someone with hearing loss to follow the conversation.
- Only one person should speak at a time.
- Turn off devices that create background noise such as TV’s, radios, and dishwashers.
If your loved one has hearing aids with bluetooth capability, help them connect their hearing aids to their smartphone or computer before the call starts. The sounds from video calls can be directly streamed into compatible hearing aids. This can significantly increase the sound from the source versus background noises.
Even though the holidays will look different this year, you can still keep in touch with your friends and family. If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and are interested in trying hearing aids, please contact us. We are happy to assist you in choosing hearing aids at an affordable price. We want everyone to Hear for the Holidays.