For many, the holidays are a time when family and friends come together to celebrate the season and ring in the New Year. We have a few suggestions that can keep you hearing well and your holiday merry and bright:
Good ideas for gatherings
Not that you need a reminder, but you are not the only person with hearing loss. Katherine Bouton, the author of Shouting Won’t Help: Why I and 50 Million Americans Can’t Hear You, offers easy to remember advice with the acronym TLC: technology, listening, care.
Remember the assistive technology you have at your fingertips, such as smartphones with connectivity to hearing aids apps that offer speech to text. Many TVs also have the option to display captions by going through the TV’s settings or clicking the “cc” button on your remote. You can learn more about features by looking at your TV’s manual or by researching your brand of TV online. Some hearing aid manufacturers also provide accessories such as speakers you can put in your shirt pocket or in the middle of a dining table to amplify conversations.
Create an appropriate listening setting. If you are at an event with many people, find a seat in the middle of the table so you are able to see the person or people with whom you are conversing. A round or oblong table better enables conversation. Talk to your host if you are having concerns with your hearing, and ask if the background music can be kept at minimum and lights can be kept brighter for you to read lips and see expressions. Not just you, but everyone will enjoy the festivities.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. If you are feeling fatigued, step away briefly for a break. Gentle reminders to your loved ones that you need slower and clearer speech can make a big difference. Be patient with yourself and others.
Accessibility has come a long way in the United States in the past few decades, along with technology that assists us in planning trips and reading reviews ahead of time. By law, hotels are required to keep several rooms for hearing accessibility. If you need to find accommodations, reserve a room with hearing-impaired features such as doorbell flashers, fire strobe lights, and a visual alarm clock to keep you feeling secure during your time in a new environment. If you are unsure how to reserve a hearing accessible room, give the hotel a call to ensure they have a room available for you and that it is equipped with some or all of these features.
Your hearing aids man be equipped with a telecoil that connects to public spaces installed with hearing loops. Hearing loops can be found in numerous places such as throughout airport, train, and subway stations, and in some taxis. Don’t miss out on important conversations to get you where you need to be – be sure to learn how to switch your aids to the telecoil setting when you see the blue hearing loop sign.
We hope that you have a warm holiday season surrounded by the people and experiences that you love. Here’s to a safe, healthy, and happy new year!