Holiday Help for Hearing Loss

The holidays bring families together for joyous occasions. For those with untreated hearing loss, holiday gatherings can be painfully difficult. With multiple conversations, kids laughing and playing, and the commotion that make up a big gathering, it is easier for one with a hearing loss to withdraw rather than participate. If a loved one at your holiday get together struggles with hearing, here are tips to help.

Address by name

If you want Uncle Ed to participate in the conversation, start the conversation by using his name. It’s a cue that will help them direct their attention when you speak.

Make eye contact

Hearing loss typically develops over time and the sufferer has unknowingly developed tactics to adapt. Lip reading is often used to fill in the gaps for sounds that aren’t heard. Make sure you look people in the eye so that you can be understood.  Conversations that cross from one room to the next are most difficult in this situation.

Restate

Too often we repeat statements, louder, and with a change of tone when someone doesn’t understand what we are saying. It isn’t always the volume that causes the miscommunication, certain sounds become difficult to discern due to hearing loss.  Rather than raising your voice to repeat, restate what you had to say. Be patient and mindful of tone. Getting angry won’t improve communication.

The dinner table it not the time and place to encourage a family member to seek help for their hearing difficulties.  With hearing loss, one can still be in denial or self-conscious about their situation. Family members jumping in with their opinions and anecdotes, although well intentioned, will only make them feel worse. Find a quiet moment, apart from a group setting, to have a private conversation about their hearing. Offer to help find a solution—help them set the appointment or drive them to see an audiologist.

Make it a joyful gathering for the whole family and help advocate for a family member that struggles with their hearing.