How to help your loved ones with hearing loss during the hoidays

By: Lisa D. Cahill, Ph.D., CCC-A

Holidays can be a time of togetherness, community, warmth, and joy. Unfortunately for those with hearing loss, the noise levels and challenging listening situations can serve as a reminder of the isolating and depressing effects of their hearing loss.  Our hearing impaired relatives can wind up feeling sad, inadequate, and emotional, especially if the hearing loss is being “hidden” or unacknowledged by the family.

In addition to the financial issues plaguing many families during this time, the additional burden of a communication impairment can be overwhelming.  Hearing loss silently erodes quality fo life by affecting relationships, short term memory, and many other aspects of daily living.  If your loved one is quiet at the family gathering this year, there may be an undiagnosed hearing loss and they may need your help in participating and regaining closeness with the family.

Signs of hearing loss include needing repetitions, frequent misunderstandings, needing the television or radio up louder than usual, or complaining of ringing in the ears.  One proactive step families can take is to schedule a hearing test together during the holiday season. Many people are more likely to have their hearing checked if they have family encouragement and support.

If someone you love is experiencing hearing loss, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) offers these tips to help them feel included in your upcoming holiday celebrations:

  • Keep the volume on the music and television down. Background noise makes it difficult for people with even mild—and sometimes undetected—hearing loss to follow the conversation.

  • Try to talk to your loved one from the side on which he or she hears best.

  • Speak clearly and not too fast. Don’t talk loudly or shout.

  • Face the person as you speak, and keep your hands away from your face.

  • Write a sincere, loving letter before a big holiday family dinner or get-together, or suggest that your loved one write one, to remind folks about the need to speak clearly, one at a time, and to use effective communication strategies, such as repeating then rephrasing when your loved one doesn’t understand them.

  • If you plan to host a holiday dinner or party, consider leaving the dishes and silverware in the china closet. Instead, use holiday-themed paper plates and plastic cutlery. This will cut down dramatically on the noise from cutlery clattering on plates.

Most importantly, offer to schedule hearing tests together as a family with your loved one! It can be a fun and enlightening experience to see the test results together, and less intimidating to be informed of hearing status with a loved one present.  The Hearing Center at Bridgewater falls is offering the Family Holiday Hearing package through January 1, 2015!

Family Holiday Hearing Package:

Schedule at least two members of your family for back-to-back hearing evaluations with one of our licensed professionals, and receive discounts on a hearing aid purchase for any or all participants anytime within the next 6 months!

Two family members: Receive 10% off a hearing aid purchase within six months

Three family members: Receive 15% off a hearing aid purchase within six months

Four family members: Receive 20% off a hearing aid purchase within the next six months

To schedule your appointment, please call us to schedule ASAP, as appointments will fill up fast! Mention Code: HOLIDAYHEARING04205