BACK TO BLOG
Avoid a Frustrating Holiday Season
Posted by Alina Phoenix, HIS on December 08, 2014
The holiday season is filled with joyous music, lively conversation and family gatherings that make up our cherished traditions. When a loved one is having trouble hearing, especially in crowded noisy situations, getting together for the holidays can become a source of frustration instead.
A person with hearing loss symptoms may have difficulty hearing the higher pitched tones of children’s and women’s voices. This becomes especially pronounced when there are competing sounds like background music or multiple other conversations. Missing out on these voices can make it difficult to contribute to the family conversation and can be frustrating both for the person suffering from hearing loss as well as for the family members who may not be aware of the hearing problem.
There are several communication skills we can learn to help a loved one with hearing problems enjoy the holiday season. Some observations, awareness and a healthy dose of patience can go a long way to making the celebration more enjoyable.
- Get the person’s attention and make eye contact before you speak
- Speak face-to-face, never from behind, while walking away, or from a different room
- Make sure there is good lighting to make it easier to see facial expressions and read lips
- As a speaker, avoid talking while chewing, smoking or covering your mouth
- Speak at a natural level, slow down and enunciate. Speaking louder can distort sound or give the impression that you are yelling.
- Try to reduce background noise if possible. Go to a quieter area if necessary.
- If background noise is unavoidable, position yourself near a wall to reduce the amount of competing noise surrounding you.
Even people who have hearing aids may still struggle with understanding, especially when there is a significant level of background noise. Hearing aids are quite helpful, but are not a substitute for our normal natural hearing. Also, our ability to understand sounds changes as we age, so even with the best hearing help available, we still may struggle to understand certain voices. The aforementioned strategies can help year round to make difficult listening situations more manageable.
The holidays provide a perfect opportunity for a heartfelt family discussion about hearing health concerns. With the support of family, a person with hearing problems may be more able to accept that they need to get help for their hearing loss, and also implementing good communication skills helps them get the most out of hearing aids. Addressing hearing loss keeps our loved ones connected with us, and also helps protect cognitive function. What a great gift to give a loved one this holiday season!
Avoid unnecessary frustrations this holiday season by taking care of your hearing health. Make an appointment to get a hearing exam if you haven’t had one in the last 3 years. If you already have hearing aids, make an appointment to get them cleaned and tuned up to make sure you can hear and enjoy all of your cherished holiday traditions.
Alina Phoenix is a Hearing Instrument Specialist working for Audibel Hearing Aid Centers in Champaign and Monticello, IL. She has been half-deaf since birth, and she was unaware of how much her hearing loss was affecting her until she got her first hearing aid and her life improved dramatically. This is what inspired her to enter the hearing care profession. She is passionate about hearing health, hearing loss education and hearing aid technology. She encourages everyone to be proactive in protecting their hearing, to get hearing checkups yearly and to address hearing loss as soon as it is discovered to minimize the harmful effects on life.